The Nogales Apaches made a first-half goal stand up as they defeated the Rio Rico Hawks 1-0 on Thursday in a girls high school soccer matchup at RRHS.
Nogales controlled the ball and kept play in their attacking half during much of the first half, but were repeatedly thwarted by Rio Rico senior goalkeeper Samantha Renteria, who jumped, dove and rushed out to make saves.
Finally, after 34 minutes of play, Nogales striker Ximena Parra took a pass and got a step on her defender as she sprinted down the right wing. As Renteria came out to contest the shot, Parra slipped the ball past her and into the far side of the net.
“We were working as a team, just making passes and everybody doing their part and I just finished – I didn’t do all the work,” Parra said afterward.
During the second half, Rio Rico was able to put more pressure on Nogales. But after the Apaches’ defense turned back a final-minutes push that included a flurry of throw-ins close to the corner from the right side, the game ended in a 1-0 Nogales victory, with NHS goalie Miranda De La Rosa earning the shutout.
Renteria, who continued to make saves in the second half for Rio Rico, still felt upbeat after the game, despite the unfavorable outcome.
“It was a loss, and obviously nobody likes to lose, but at the end of the day, it happened. It’s our first official game of the season and I honestly think it’s a really good start,” she said.
“I think we started rocky, but I think we definitely got better – I think the second half was ours,” she added.
It was the first regular-season game of the year for Nogales as well after both teams participated in the preseason Amphitheater Panthers Soccer Tournament.
Parra said the Apaches were disappointed with the outcome of the tournament, but it helped them identify areas of improvement.
“We have to work harder,” she said. “We started kind of rough, but I feel like we have to play more as a team, more tactics.”
Nogales is next set to host Desert View at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 and Vista Grande at 2 p.m. on Dec. 14.
Rio Rico hosts Cholla at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12, then travels to Chandler on Dec. 20 for a tournament.