The Northland Prep Spartans boys soccer team took on the Camp Verde Cowboys on Friday at Sinagua Middle School with a chance to get to the 2A Conference state tournament on the line.
It was going to be an upwards fight for the No. 12 Spartans, going against the fifth-ranked Cowboys, but ultimately the Spartans couldn't hang on in a 2-0 loss.
The game started in the Cowboys favor, as visiting Camp Verde did a good job of holding position in the Spartans half, but the host held strong outside their 18-yard box. The physical play of senior defender Jason Wikie and sophomore Gabriel Wallace was enough to hold off the early pressure by the Cowboys.
Camp Verde would take the lead on a goal as the ball slipped past the outstretched hand of senior goalkeeper Connor Barta.
Barta would come up with three big saves to keep the Spartans within one but eventually the Cowboys found another goal off of a corner kick that was headed over the senior. Barta would not be deterred through continuing to come up big and keep Northland Prep's hopes alive. The Spartans went into the half down 2-0.
The Spartans honored their seniors at halftime, fans surely hoping that it would inspire the team to a victory to give the seniors at least another game.
The Spartans opened the second half with a new explosiveness in their offense. The team started by holding a long possession and working their way up the field, but it still was unable to find the way to put pressure on the Camp Verde goal. The Spartans' chances increased as time went on, as they began to play the ball long, hoping to use their speed to create chances -- though they still had a hard time creating quality chances.
The teams took turns putting each other under pressure but ultimately, neither could find a score in the back-and-forth second half. This marks the end of Northland Prep's season as they finish the season 3-6 overall and 2-1 in the North Region. Northland Prep loses a talented group of seniors, but the future looks bright for the Spartans.
Spartans head coach Erik Carillo was hopeful of his team's future after the strong finish.
“We should have a good group of freshman coming in and were gonna have a pretty solid base of the juniors, sophomores and freshmen," Carillo said.
Eagles 3, Thunderbirds 0
Make it two sweeps in a row since Flagstaff fell to crosstown rival Coconino. The No. 12 Eagles routed No. 30 Mohave 25-13, 25-11, 25-15 in Bullhead City Thursday night.
The two wins come right before the Eagles get a pair of big home matches against No. 20 Cactus Saturday and No. 2 Notre Dame Prep on Tuesday.
Flagstaff (9-2, 9-2 4A Grand Canyon) will face Cactus at 9 a.m.
Daily Sun Sports Editor Lance Hartzler contributed to this roundup.