The Northland Prep Spartans started the new soccer season with a dominant shutout, 9-0, on the road at Holbrook Tuesday afternoon.
Mia Blair and Jayden Dvorak returned from preseason ankle injuries to make large contributions for the two-time defending 2A state champs. Blair had a pair of goals and assisted on one, while Dvorak had one goal and four steals for Northland Prep.
“We’ve been working on quite a few different ways to attack in training and we we’re able to work on that a lot today," Spartans co-head coach Michael Blair said. "Four of the goals came from players making runs from wide spaces.”
Mia Blair and Ellie Karren kicked off the scoring with four early goals at two each, setting the tone in the first 10 minutes of the game and igniting the season-opening win.
In all, seven Spartans found the back of the Holbrook net.
Alyssa Sturm was a strong force defensively as a senior including scoring a goal from a run from the back.
“Our defense is new and the girls are really trying to do what we’re teaching them" Spartans co-head coach Keith Hovis said. "We saw some really advanced defensive play today and great leadership from our goalkeeper Payten Schmidt.”
The Spartans will compete in the Show Low Invitational beginning with a doubleheader Friday with a match against the Blue Ridge Yellowjackets at 1 p.m. and then the Snowflake Lobos at 3 p.m.
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EAGLES 3, SCORPIONS 1
Flagstaff opened its 2019 season with a four-set victory on the road against Desert Edge, riding 17 kills from outside hitter Gracelyn Nez and 32 digs from first-year libero Paetyn Nakai in Goodyear.
Nez also had 15 digs and one block for the Eagles, who won the first set 25-22 and the second 25-23 before falling 25-21 in the third. Flagstaff closed with a solid effort in the fourth set, 25-10, beating Desert Edge for the second year in a row to open the regular season.
Alyssa Prager also highlighted a night during which Flagstaff used a scrappy defensive effort to notch a win, tallying 10 blocks to go with three digs and two kills. Shea Wilson contributed eight kills and five digs, with Bridget Bond providing 11 digs in the win.
Bond and Devynn Hatathlie ran a 6-2 together and each finished with more than 10 sets apiece.
Flagstaff plays its home opener Thursday at 6 p.m. against Greenway.