Last fall, Green Valley’s boys soccer team watched Eldorado control the tempo and earn a 2-1 win in the Sunrise Region title game.
The Gators didn’t let that happen again.
Green Valley took control from the start Saturday, scoring three goals in the first half on the way to a 4-1 victory over the Sundevils for the Division I Sunrise Region title at Heritage Park.
“We weren’t intimidated, and we took the game to them and made them play like we wanted to and didn’t let them dictate play like last year,” Green Valley coach Jacob Rivera said. “And when you get two goals early in the game, it makes your job a lot easier.”
Kade Kochevar helped Green Valley (13-4-3) take control early with two goals in the first 21 minutes.
“Kade had some brilliant shots,” Rivera said. “Those are big shots that you need in big games.”
Ivan Rodriguez dropped a pass to Kochevar just outside the penalty box, and the junior forward turned and ripped a shot into the upper left corner to give the Gators a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.
“I just looked up and saw the goalie and put it where he wasn’t,” Kochevar said.
He added a second goal in the 21st minute when Eldorado’s goalkeeper made a diving save, but Kochevar was there to corral the rebound and hit a left-footed shot past the diving keeper.
“I just cleaned up the garbage,” Kochevar said.
The Gators added a goal from Daniel Mojica three minutes before halftime.
Eldorado (15-4-1) cut the lead to 3-1 on a goal by Edgar Duran in the 27th minute, but the Gators responded two minutes later when Bryan Baugh’s long throw-in went off the fingertips of Eldorado’s goalkeeper and into the net for a 4-1 advantage.
The Gators advance to this week’s state tournament, their first appearance at state since 2001.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been there,” Kochevar said. “It’s good to finally go.”
Eldorado plays Sunset Region runner-up Durango (13-4-3) at 4 p.m. Monday at Faith Lutheran for the final berth at state.
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at email@example.com or 702-380-4587. Follow @DamonSeiters on Twitter.In-depth high school sports coverage