In its first home game of the season, the Sedona Red Rock High School girl’s soccer team overcame a physical Wickenburg team to run away with a 5-2 victory on Dec. 6.
Freshman forward Amari Sonn netted four goals in her home debut for the Scorpions with a brace on each side of halftime to lead the way offensively.
“She’s phenomenal, she’s a freshman who starts,” third year head coach Juan Carlos Aguilar said. “You saw the game, they were very physical and she got around that and then just played her game that made her excel, and she was good making those goals.”
The visiting Wranglers played physically at both ends of the field, leaving a couple of Red Rock players with bumps and bruises at the game’s end, and even forcing freshman Lulu Betancourt to leave the game injured in the second half.
Aguilar was unhappy with the rough play of the visitors, going so far as to have words with opposing head coach Elias Cisneros in Spanish during the second half and after the final whistle. The head referee only handed out two yellow cards during the entire game, the second to Aguilar for protesting a cynical foul.
Aguilar cited his team’s ability to maintain its composure en route to the victory.
“First of all we didn’t lose control of ourselves,” he said. “We were playing against a team that was very physical and we didn’t lose our control, so if we were to lose it we would lose the game totally.”
Red Rock dominated possession throughout the entire game, amassing 17 shots, with Amari Sonn and her sister, senior Malia Sonn, contributing the majority.
In the first minute of the game senior midfielder Sierra Fraley struck the ball wide of the target, signaling the offensive dominance that was to come from the host team. Minutes later junior midfielder Alicia Pallares saw her shot saved by Wranglers goalkeeper Paola Lopez before Amari Sonn finally broke open the scoring 17 minutes in.
Throughout the entire game, the Scorpions exploited Wickenburg’s lack of speed in defense, launching balls to Amari Sonn on the wing, who would then have acres of space to pick out a pass to her teammates, however unable to convert the majority.
Despite Red Rock dominating possession, Wickenburg was able to level the game against the run of play by way of a goal from sophomore striker Jennifer Smith. Entering the game Smith had seven goals in three games.
Three minutes after Amari Sonn’s opener, Smith found an opening down the right side and was able to slip the ball past outcoming Scorpion freshman goalkeeper Carolina Lopez-Villegas.
Immediately after the Wrangler goal, the Scorpions took control, creating more than a handful of chances before Amari Sonn finally netted her second with just over 12 minutes to play in the half.
Lopez came out of her goal and partially blocked Malia Sonn’s shot. The loose ball fell back to Malia who passed it off to sister Amari to push it into the open net from eight yards out.
At the start of the second half Wickenburg threatened to tie the game again with another chance for Smith cleared out by Scorpion freshman defender Lizabeth Corral. Two minutes later Lopez-Villegas saved another attempt from Smith, who proved to be Wickenburg’s only threat in attack.
Amari Sonn netted her hat trick just under 10 minutes in, this time taking a long pass from Pallares in midfield down the right side. After a center pass bounced back to her, she surprised Lopez with a left-footed strike to the shortside.
Shortly after it was Malia Sonn who would receive a pass from Amari, but turned in a tame shot that was saved by the visting goalkeeper.
“We just need to be more strong when we go out there,” Aguilar said. “Get to the last step and score the goals. I believe in those chances we had we just stopped short and we just didn’t have the energy to kick the ball harder.”
That lack of energy is due largely in part to fatigue in the later stages of the game; the Scorpions only have three substitutes.
“I have 14 players and the majority of them are playing pretty much the 80 minutes,” Aguilar said. “And I have the two strikers that are going to be on all time, and those are the ones who are going to get tired because they have to fight their way up first against any defender and then the rest is legs.”
“I think we can open up more on the outsides and if we communicated a little bit more,” Amari Sonn said. “And crossed it further instead of right in the middle, and having more players in the middle.”
Smith pulled the Wranglers to within one goal after slipping the ball past Lopez-Villegas once again with just over 15 minutes to go. One minute later Amari Sonn pushed the lead two, the ball getting clipped
and dribbling in past the goalkeeper.
Two minutes after that Malia Sonn netted the fifth, finishing her shot into the high corner from 16 yards out off a long pass from sister Amari.
Defensively, Red Rock was able to comfortably deal with any advances made by Wickenburg, due in large part to Corral’s composure and timing, according to Aguilar. For the future, Corral is aware of what steps need to be taken in order to continue the team’s success.
“We can be a lot safer, like not trying to get hurt as much, since we have a limited amount of players,” Corral said.
Red Rock took on Scottsdale Christian Academy on Dec. 8, but the result was not available at press time.
The Scorpions will travel for a 4 p.m. kickoff on Dec. 12 at Santa Cruz Valley.