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In what seemed like a season in which the Verde Valley School boys soccer team was going to struggle, a perfect 2-0 start was unlikely Sept. 9, but that’s exactly what the Coyotes got.

Senior Captain Precious Chima was fantastic Thursday, Sept. 9, in a 2-1 victory over Thunderbird Adventist Academy. Chima and the rest of the Verde Valley School boys soccer team will play host to Northland Preparatory Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 21.Tied 0-0 heading into the second half, sophomore forward Gino Lazzaro sprinted up the left side of the field with the ball, juked his defender, and made it all the way to the goal to net a score, making it 1-0 Verde Valley.

The goal came in the 49th minute to give Verde Valley a lead and Head Coach Andy Gill and his improbable Coyotes defeated Thunderbird Adventist Academy, 2-1.

“I’m a bit surprised to say the least,” Gill said after the match Thursday. “Our team gelled quickly and we have a bunch of good lads out there.”

Only a few minutes after the first goal, Lazzaro found another way to score in the 53rd minute to give his Verde Valley team a commanding 2-0 lead.

It was only a matter of time before Verde Valley punched in a few scores with all the pressure they put on the Thunderbird Adventist defense, taking 17 total shots on goal.
Thunderbird Adventist managed only five shots on goal all day with Verde Valley sophomore goalkeeper Ilya Filatov recording three saves.

Thunderbird Adventist managed to score a goal on Filatov and the Coyotes defense late in the second half Thursday, but Verde Valley’s defense held strong in the final minutes to secure the victory.

“Our team is interesting. We don’t have a really strong player, and we don’t have a weak player either. All of the boys are in the middle and are all quality soccer players,” Gill said.

Sophomore Emerson Sirin-Galis works his way between two defenders Thursday, Sept. 9. Sirin-Galis and the rest of the Coyotes earned the victory over Thunderbird Adventist Academy, 2-1.For a team that had only four practices before its first match, a 2-0 [2-0, 1A-3A West] start isn’t half bad.
Verde Valley defeated Grand Canyon High School in its first match Sept. 3, recording a 1-0 victory after sophomore Emerson Sirin-Galis scored with 10 seconds left in the game.

The Coyotes were in action again Tuesday, Sept. 14, when they played host to Chino Valley High School. Results were unavailable at press time.

If Verde Valley squeaks out a victory over the Cougars on Tuesday, it would be a remarkable 3-0 start to the season that no one saw coming.

With the two wins, Verde Valley already has half the win total it did in 2009 when it went 4-10 overall on the season.

Next up for the Coyotes, Verde Valley will play host to Northland Preparatory Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 21. It will be the last time Verde Valley has a home match until the middle of October. The match is scheduled to start at3:30 p.m.

Verde Valley is scheduled to play in the Payson Invitational Tournament starting Friday, Sept. 24, and will be on the road the next four matches against Camp Verde High School, Phoenix Country Day School, Northland Preparatory and Thunderbird Adventist.

The Coyotes will return home Tuesday, Oct. 12, to face Phoenix Country Day School.


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