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Fresh off the Show Low Invitational Tournament, the Verde Valley School girls soccer team opened its regular season schedule Tuesday, Sept. 14, suffering a loss to visiting Chino Valley High School, 5-0.

Junior Morgan Binder locates the ball before turning upfield offensively for the Verde Valley School girls soccer team Tuesday, Sept. 14. The Coyotes struggled Tuesday, losing their first regular season match of the season to Chino Valley High School, 5-0.“We have a young, small group of girls this season, but they are a very dedicated, unified group of girls,” second-year Verde Valley Head Coach Catrien Van Assendelft said.

The Coyotes managed 13 shots on goal Tuesday against Chino Valley, three of which came in the last 10 minutes of the game when Verde Valley had eight players on the field.

Due to injuries, Verde Valley had only 12 to start the match, but a few other girls found themselves with ice packs on their legs by the time the match was over.

“I’m incredibly proud of this team. They support each other 100 percent. They give everything they have and that’s enough for me. We had a few minor injuries against Chino Valley but they will heal,” Van Assendelft said.

Offensively, the Coyotes had plenty of opportunities to score but couldn’t punch one through.

Defensively, Verde Valley had a hard time keeping Chino Valley freshman standout Christina Ard out of the net as she recorded her first career hat trick for the Cougars.

Ard’s first goal came in the 31st minute as she sprinted down the middle of the field and lofted a ball over a few Verde Valley players for the score.

Chino Valley recorded 27 shots Tuesday, most of which were on goal and several were from Ard at the striker position.

Leading 2-0 at halftime, Ard scored two more goals in the 48th and 54th minute to give the Cougars a 4-0 lead, which all but put away the Coyotes.

Van Assendelft said her Coyotes for the most part are learning the game of soccer, stating Verde Valley has several new players this season and only four returners from 2009.

“I especially commend our captains, Morgan Binder, Raven Saunders-Duckett and Brianna Gonzalez for being so positive and helping the rest of the girls learn the game,” Van Assendelft said.

Verde Valley was in action again Thursday, Sept. 16, when they traveled to Desert Christian Academy. Results were unavailable at press time.

Next up, the Coyotes will take their 0-1 [0-1, 1A-3A West] record and play host to River Valley High School on Thursday, Sept. 23, with a scheduled start time of 2:30 p.m.

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