10/29/2012 8:19:00 AM Chino Valley boys soccer team continues road toward title
The Cougarsí Kiki Cornelio (7) splits Round Valley defenders Sam Adams, left, and Jaren Adair Saturday afternoon in Chino Valley.
CVHS No. 11 Antonio Soto scores a goal in the first half of soccer against Round Valley.
Div. 4 Boys Soccer Final Four
(seeds in parentheses)
(Games at Campo Verde HS, Gilbert)
(3) Chino Valley vs.
(2) Blue Ridge, 5 p.m.
(1) Desert Christian vs.
(5) Payson, 7 p.m.
TBA vs. TBA, 2:30 p.m.
Courtesy the Daily Courier
The Chino Valley boys' soccer team is two wins from capturing another state championship.
The 3-seeded Cougars overwhelmed 11-seed Round Valley 11-0 Saturday afternoon in Chino Valley in their state tournament opener to earn a berth in this week's Final Four. Chino is seeking the program's third AIA state championship, and first since 2008.
The diverse attack featured a hat-trick from Jose Beltran, two goals and an assist from Kiki Cornelio, and two assists from Carlos Martinez. Overall, the Cougars registered nine assists on their 11 goals.
"Our passing was just really, really great today," said Chino Valley head coach Jim Clark, in his 24th year piloting the annual state contender. "We kept moving the ball and creating openings and got a lot of shots."
Chino advances to play 2-seed Blue Ridge this Friday (5 p.m.) in the first semifinal, after Blue Ridge eliminated 10-seed Show Low 5-1 on Saturday. In the other semifinal, 1-seed Desert Christian will meet 5-seed Payson at 7 p.m.
Both games take place on the neutral field at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, site of this Saturday's Div. 4 state championship at 2:30 p.m.
Saturday's quarterfinal blowout allowed the Cougars to sub in plenty of players to get state playoff reps. Two freshmen, Kendall Foster and Oscar Montes, each scored goals. Freshman keeper Spencer Coffin, the starter all season, made two saves in the shutout.
The starters' rested legs will have almost a week to freshen up even more for the semifinal match, with plenty of practice between now and then.
"We'll work on our strength, our passing, and try to get even better," Clark said. "We'll work on defensive situations quite a bit. The level is going to go up for sure going into the semifinals."
Chino Valley lost to Blue Ridge 2-1 early in the season at its own Chino Cup. The Cougars (18-3 overall) also lost to Desert Christian on a penalty kick in the last minute at the same tournament.
"I think we're definitely one of the top three teams," Clark added. "We feel like we can play with either of those teams, so we hope to keep rolling."