Boys soccer advances to state finals for third time in school history
The undefeated San Luis High School boys soccer team has advanced to the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) state finals for the third time in school history, following a 3-2 victory on Tuesday, Mar. 16 over Tucson High School.
It was the third postseason win a row for the top-seeded Sidewinders (13-0), who routed Sandra Day O’Connor, 7-1, in round one and won, 3-3 (7-6), on penalty kicks against Desert Vista in the quarterfinals.
They move on to face No. 4 Brophy Prep, the two-time defending state champions, in the 6A final on Friday, Mar. 19 at 5 p.m. at Campo Verde High School.
“This means a lot to me and the team. We have worked really hard to get to the final, but we are not satisfied with this,” SLHS senior striker Ricardo Famania said. “We want to be the next champions. I personally believe that this season is the perfect one to make history because since the beginning of the season I knew that we were going to be a really strong team and we showed it to the league. I believe that San Luis deserves a state championship and we are going to fight until the last second to achieve it.”
Famania is the team’s third-leading scorer with 6 goals and a team-best 7 assists (21 points). Junior Roberto Uribe leads the Sidewinders with 11 goals. Both Famania and Uribe reached the back of the net against Tucson. Goalkeeper Martin Sanchez has recorded four shutouts in the pandemic-shortened season, and boasts four PK saves, including two crucial saves in the second-round win over Desert Vista.
San Luis has historically been one of the state’s best soccer programs. They have accumulated a nearly .750 winning percentage since the school opened in 2001. But despite annual postseason berths and two finals appearances since 2006, a state title has proven elusive. They lost to Ironwood, 2-0, in 2006 and Queen Creek, 3-0, in 2015.
“Being in the championship game is a big achievement for the program, the school and the community; but that's not our end goal,” SLHS head coach Jesus Rojas, who is a former San Luis player and in his fourth year as head coach. “We will do everything we can to bring San Luis the state title it has deserved for so long.”
Since 2010, San Luis and Brophy have faced off twice in the playoffs with the teams splitting the pair of games.
A livestream of the championship game is available via the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Network for a monthly fee of $10.99 at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/aia/gamc716142062. NFHS is the exclusive rights holder of AIA state semifinals and finals games. General admission tickets are available at the GoFan website for $10.