Green Valley senior Bryan Baugh remembers the pain of losing last season’s Sunrise Regional final to Eldorado, and said the Gators used that defeat as motivation for the 2012 season.
Wednesday at Heritage Park, Baugh did more than his share to make sure Green Valley would return to the title game.
Baugh had a hand in all three Green Valley goals as the Gators downed Las Vegas, 3-0.
Green Valley (12-4-3) will face Eldorado in the final at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Baugh was the biggest contributor against the Wildcats (12-3-2), scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists.
“It’s a great feeling going back to the regional final,” said Baugh, whose Gators dropped a 2-1 decision to Eldorado in 2011. “We have had a bad taste in our mouth about that loss the entire offseason. All we thought about was getting redemption, and now we have a chance.”
In the 18th minute, Baugh had an oportune pass to Daniel Valdez, who ripped a shot into the back to give Green Valley an early lead. Eight minutes later, Baugh made a throw-in toward the goal, and the ball bounced off the fingers of Las Vegas goalie Enrique Adame and into the net.
“That’s a set play that we do,” Gators coach Jacob Rivera said. “I think Bryan has scored four goals off that play. I think we were much more disciplined today, which made the difference.”
Las Vegas defeated Green Valley 2-1 in their first regular-season meeting, and the teams tied 2-2 in the regular-season finale.
“When you play a team like Vegas a pair of close games, you learn plenty from those meetings,” Rivera said. “We learned to play the game at our pace, and dictate the play. Again, it all comes down to discipline.”
Baugh’s 20-yard pass to Gitai Gazala set up Green Valley’s final score in the 65th minute, as Gazala danced around Adame and easily kicked the ball into the net.
Victor Marquez stopped six shots for the Gators to earn the shutout.
Eldorado 3, Coronado 2 — Andres Lua scored all three goals, including the game-winner with 13 minutes left as the Sundevils reached the final.
Eldorado (15-3-1) seemed in control of the match, as Lua scored a pair of goals during a three-minute span in the first half. Lua took a pass from Chris Perez for the first Sundevil goal, then scored from 15 yards out four possessions later.
But after having just three shots on goal in the opening half, Coronado (8-7-4) came to life early in the second, as Chase Rinehart scored six minutes into the half, cutting the margin to 2-1.
In the 55th minute, Justin Lyons blasted a shot off an Eldorado player that found the net, tying the match at 2-2.
However, Lua scored the winner for the Sun Devils after racing past the Cougar defense and succesfully converting a left-foot angle shot into the goal.