Staking their claim to the top spot in 2A Conference, the Northland Prep Spartans beat the Chino Valley Cougars on the road Tuesday afternoon.
Two goals late in the first half proved to be enough for the Spartans (4-0) as they remained perfect this season with the 2-1 victory against the Cougars (2-1-1). The win solidifies Northland Prep atop the Central Region, with each of the four other teams sitting with a loss.
Freshman Ellie Karren opened the scoring with a goal in the 36th minute, as she scored from inside the box with a low shot to the far post while fending off a defender. Fellow freshman Mia Blair registered the assist as the two pulled off a give-and-go past the last Chino defender.
Marlayna Saavedra came up with the game-winner just three minutes later, as she drove into the box and hammered in a shot from 12 yards out with the assist going to Alyssa Sturm.
Having shut out opponents for the first 300 minutes of the season, Northland Prep's first and only goal conceded this season came in the 60th minute on a lot shot by Chino Valley.
Co-head coach Michael Blair praised the team's defense for frustrating the attack of last year's state champions while battling through a physical contest.
Emma Blair attempted to add on an insurance goal in the 70th minute, only to have it waived off due to an offside call. The Spartans attempted 24 shots, with all but one on goal. At the opposite goal, Northland Prep continued to rotate its goalkeepers, with freshman Payten Schmidt saving four shots in her scoreless first half while senior Lauren James saved another four in her half of play.
The two sides will meet again on Oct. 18 in Flagstaff, when the Spartans host the Cougars in the penultimate regular season match at Sinagua Middle School.
COCONINO 3, LEE WILLIAMS 1
Opening its Grand Canyon Region schedule after a busy weekend at their home tournament, the Coconino Panthers beat the Lee Williams Volunteers (4-1) 25-22, 25-15, 19-25, 25-15 Tuesday night in Kingman.
Now 3-1 in the regular season, the Panthers will host the Cactus Shadows Falcons (5-0) Thursday night.
FLAGSTAFF 3, MINGUS UNION 0
Sweeping through the Mingus Union Marauders (1-4) in Cottonwood Tuesday night, the Flagstaff Eagles (3-1) won 25-12, 25-14, 25-13 to begin Grand Canyon Region play.
After winning the Coconino Classic this past weekend, the Eagles made quick work of the Marauders in their return to regular season play. Flagstaff will face Lee Williams at home on Thursday.
NORTHLAND PREP 3, WINSLOW 0
Bouncing back from a 3-1 loss to Glendale Prep in Monday's Central Region opener, the Northland Prep Spartans (4-1) swept the Winslow Bulldogs (0-4) on the road.
Northland Prep will host the Chino Valley Cougars (2-1) on Thursday, as the 2A school plays up against a 3A opponent for the second straight match.