A couple of bursts of speed turned out to be all Centennial’s girls soccer team needed Tuesday.
Speedsters Ashley Mosley and Bethanie Skelton hooked up on the game’s only goal as the Bulldogs beat Green Valley 1-0 for the Southern Nevada championship at Bettye Wilson Park.
"Our forwards are really fast, and that definitely helped," Centennial goalkeeper Jenna Riddle said. "They outran those girls completely."
Riley Bassett chipped a pass over the top of the Gators’ defense to start the play. Mosley beat a defender and the Green Valley goalkeeper to the ball inside the box, and she rolled a pass in front of the net for Skelton, who beat the rest of the defense for the point-blank shot in the game’s 26th minute.
"Her speed is just phenomenal," Bulldogs coach Bernie Preston said of Mosley. "And actually, Bethanie is faster.
"That was just a really nice finish, and it set the tone for the game."
The goal turned out to be enough for Riddle, who had four saves to record her fourth postseason shutout. Riddle didn’t face many particularly difficult shots but came off the Centennial goal line on several occasions to break up plays.
"She came off her line really well, and she did make a couple good saves," Preston said. "She came off her line and did some good stuff, and she’s been doing that all year long. Jenna does the stuff to keep us in the game."
Green Valley turned up the heat in the second half, and had a string of free-kick opportunities, but was unable to net the tying goal.
"You’ve got to give them a lot of credit," Gators coach William Naftaly said. "They outhustled us at times. The second half, we played great, we just couldn’t score on them."
Preston said he was disappointed his team didn’t come out in the second half with the same intensity.
"I think the second half we really played not to lose," Preston said. "I wish they would have pressed hard, because I think we would have gotten a couple more goals, especially on the right side with little Ashley Mosley. She’s just unbelievable."
The Gators outscored opponents 17-1 to win the Sunrise Region championship, only to fall in the Southern Nevada championship game for the third straight year.
"I told them all year long they’re the best in the city, and I really believe that," Preston said of his squad. "I told them to play like champions and win. The entire tournament, we’ve really taken it to some really tough teams."
Said Riddle: "It’s amazing. It still hasn’t really hit me yet, but it just feels so good."