By Alex Jimenez
Pima Community College Women’s Soccer will look to beat rival Phoenix College in conference play on Saturday, a rematch of the thrilling season-opener.
The Aztecs currently have an overall record of 6-1, their best start since the 2015-2016 season. Pima enters this week ranked No. 7 in NJCAA’s top 20 after consecutive wins against Yavapai College and GateWay Community College last week.
Pima versus Phoenix is becoming one of, if not the most, anticipated game of the season. The two teams have matched up a number of times, including last season’s Region I Championship game when Pima fell to Phoenix 2-0.
Phoenix College finished its season by winning the National Championship and came into this 2021-2022 season ranked No. 1, before Pima took down Phoenix College 2-1 Aug. 28.
Freshman Mari Acosta opened up the scoring for Pima half an hour into the game before Alyssa Kopach doubled the lead in the second half.
Acosta, a Tucson native who attended Sahuarita High School, is in great form for the Aztecs, having scored 5 goals and tallying 1 assist in the 7 games played. She was awarded Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Week the first week of September.
“All the coaches I have had before, now having Kendra as a coach, and all the girls I play with have helped me get to where I am,” Acosta said. “We all support each other really well and we have a code we go off a lot – ‘Stronger Together’ – and we just practice really hard because we know where we want to go. We want to go to Nationals.”
Pima’s wins come off the success of boasting a deadly attack, having scored 25 goals in just seven games as evidence.
Midfielder Seti Valencia has added 3 goals and 2 assists for the Aztecs, a big factor in scoring and creating for the team.
“It’s a collective effort,” Valencia said. “We’re not like other teams that have those standout players that score all their goals. If you look at our stat sheet, we have different people scoring goals every game. Us working together has made us so successful.”
In addition to a high-scoring offense, Pima is in safe hands at the back. Goalkeeper Angelina Amparano and the Aztec defense have kept 3 shutouts and Amparano has completed 32 saves with an 86.5% save percentage over Pima’s first 7 games.
Both Pima and Phoenix are 1-0 in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, and Pima recognizes Phoenix College stand in their way at least once more this season on their road to nationals.
“Going into it we know it’ll be a tough game, it’ll be on their home field this time,” said Seti Valencia. “We’re still expecting to fight hard and hopefully come out with the win.”