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4A Sunrise girls: Green Valley strikes early to upset Coronado for region title

Green Valley’s girls soccer team appeared to be quite comfortable at Bettye Wilson Park on Saturday afternoon.

But they’re already eyeing their next destination.

Reno.

The Gators notched a pair of first-half goals to score a 2-0 upset win over Coronado in the Class 4A Sunrise Region championship game at Bettye Wilson Park.

The players received their championship trophy from an NIAA official, and promptly huddled to ask, in unison, an important question with an obvious answer.

“Where are we going next week?” they screamed.

To play for the state championship for the first time since 2012.

“These girls are my kids. We laugh together, we cry together and we win region championships together,” Green Valley coach Catherine Davis said. “Every one of them showed up today and played the game of their life. We knew we had to do that to win.”

The Gators (17-3) had lost a pair of one-goal games to the Cougars during the regular season, but they adjusted their game plan and were ready for Saturday.

Green Valley capitalized five minutes into the game on an own goal via a corner kick. Freshman Celeste Millan tacked on an insurance goal in the 37th minute, giving keeper Ryan Sabol more than enough of a cushion to hold off Coronado’s powerful offense.

“It really started to click after the first time we played Coronado,” said Sabol, who made six saves. “After that, I feel like we really got a lot tougher as a team and we gained more confidence from that loss.”

The Cougars (22-2-3) challenged the Gators during the second half, but wilted down the stretch. They will miss the state tournament for the first time 2011.

“They’re an amazing team. They’ve always been an amazing team,” Davis said. “We just had to figure out how to use our talents to maximize that.”

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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