DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Zaccagnio's goal rescues Gators in second OT

Time was running out in the second overtime, and the soccer teams from Xavier Prep and host Tempe Corona del Sol appeared headed for a tie on Thursday night (Jan. 15).
That’s when XCP senior Tessa Zaccagnio came to the rescue.
As she has done so many times this season, Zaccagnio put herself in just the right spot at just the right time, and scored with 3:03 left to give the Gators a 2-1 victory in the hard-fought contest.
Zaccagnio planted herself in front of the Corona del Sol goal, took a pass from Amanda Lane, turned and sent the ball into the right corner of the net with her left foot. Zaccagnio has scored in every game for the Gators, who are 12-1. XCP had defeated Mesa and Anthem Boulder Creek earlier in the week.
“I’ve said it before, I think she is the best forward in the state with her back to the goal,’’ said XCP coach Barb Chura. “It (attention) couldn’t happen to a better person or a better player.
“Corona presented a physical team. We knew that coming in. It was about us being able to measure up. Can you rise above?’’
Corona scored its lone goal with 14:03 left in the first half. The Aztecs’ Laney Gordon sent a high bouncer toward the goal from the right side. As if in slow motion, the ball somehow eluded the grasp of Gators goalkeeper Kinsey Ehmann.
About five minutes later, Xavier was awarded a free kick and Lane lofted the ball toward the goal. There was a scramble in front of the goal and Elena Zurek was able to head the ball in for a 1-1 tie.
Ehmann made a couple of key deflections as the half wound down.
Back and forth it went in the second half. Both teams had their chances, but could not connect.
The Xavier-Corona match had been rescheduled after rain washed out the season opener.
The Gators return to action on Tuesday (Jan. 20) with a 6 p.m. road contest at Mesa Mountain View.

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