Desert Pines craves first postseason victory

The Desert Pines girls soccer team is 0-2 all time in the postseason. Junior Genessis Martinez is hoping to change the first number today.

Martinez and the Jaguars (9-5-1) take on Cheyenne (13-3) at 5 p.m. at Faith Lutheran in the quarterfinals of the Division I-A Southern Region tournament. The semifinals are Wednesday at Heritage Park with the region final at 10 a.m. Saturday at Heritage Park.

The Division I Sunrise and Sunset region girls quarterfinals at Heritage Park are scheduled for 4 and 6 p.m. today, and the tournaments continue Wednesday. The title games are at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The boys Division I Sunrise and Sunset region tournaments begin Tuesday at Heritage Park. The boys Division I-A Southern tournament opens Tuesday at Faith Lutheran.

“We wanted to make the playoffs, and we wanted to make it past the first round,” Martinez said. “It’s been our goal all season. Last year, we lost our first playoff game, and we’ve talked about it since our first game this year.”

Desert Pines fell to eventual Division I-A state champion Pahrump Valley 10-0 in the opening round of the playoffs in 2012 as the state’s all-time leading scorer, Sydney Sladek, posted a hat trick. The Jaguars dropped three straight to open this season, but Martinez started to notice a difference in the team after the first few Sunrise League matches.

“We didn’t start off good in the preseason,” Martinez said. “Then we started to make through balls where the forwards could take it, or we were putting it over the defense’s heads. That’s how we knew. We were finishing and we started communicating.”

Martinez controls the midfield for the Jaguars and scored a team-best 13 goals to go along with five assists. But Desert Pines showed balance on offense throughout the regular season as it clinched the No. 2 seed from the Sunrise League with a 9-2-1 mark.

Jeanna Marin notched a hat trick in Thursday’s 4-0 victory over Sunrise Mountain and has 10 goals. Selena Rodriguez has nine goals, and speedy Mariyah Espinoza added eight goals.

Goalkeeper Martha Gandarilla recorded five shutouts for the Jaguars, whose only other postseason appearance came during the 2010-11 winter season and ended with a 5-0 loss to Green Valley.

“Our coaches inspire us,” Martinez said. “They tell us we can do better. They tell us they can’t do the job for us, so we have to finish it.”

Cheyenne, the No. 3 seed from the Sunset League, and the Jaguars appear to be evenly matched on paper. The Desert Shields beat Boulder City, Chaparral and Virgin Valley to open the season, winning by a combined score of 9-3; Desert Pines went 6-0 against that trio during Sunrise League play.

The Desert Shields, also making their second straight playoff appearance, are led offensively by Lesly Rodriguez (21 goals), Jocelyn Vasquez (15 goals) and playmaker Josie Lourenco (15 assists).

Contact reporter David Schoen at or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.

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