San Luis boys soccer to face Perry in state final
San Luis High School boys soccer is on the precipice again.
For the second time in three seasons and fourth time in school history, one of the state’s pre-eminent soccer programs has advanced to the state finals. The No. 2 Sidewinders take on No. 5 Perry High School at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Dobson High School in Mesa.
While they are still seeking the first soccer championship in school history, there is reason to believe this season may be their best opportunity yet.
The undefeated Sidewinders completed a run through the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) 6A Conference Playoffs without allowing a goal, including a 1-0 victory over Brophy Prep on Tuesday. San Luis has not allowed an opponent to score since January 10, and, led by senior goalkeeper Alejandro Pena, have given up just four goals all season.
“I hope this is the year,” SLHS senior center back Israel Uribe said. “We are working to make this year the best year. We have the drive to win. I feel that. In previous seasons, we were close, but I see the drive from this team this year to win the title.”
While Pena, Uribe, and senior Erick Quirarte are three of the anchors on their half of the pitch, junior Misael Meza and senior Luis Medina have combined to score 40 of the Sidewinders’ 73 goals, making the group as balanced as ever.
For the juniors and seniors, they are also fueled by a common goal: erasing the feeling of a title loss (1-1, 3-2 PK to Brophy) two years ago.
“I see this team as very united,” Uribe said. “I feel that in past seasons we didn’t have that unity and our team captains have set an example on and off the field to make the team feel like a family.”
SLHS head coach Jesus Rojas, who is in his sixth year leading the Sidewinders, added: “We were undefeated for the third consecutive regular season. We have great leaders inside and outside the field.”
Watch the game live on the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) streaming website: https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/aia/gamd6ef6e6b4d (Note: there is a subscription fee). Tickets for the game are $15 for adults and $7.50 for students with ID and can be purchased on the GoFan app (https://gofan.co/app/events/888122).
Here are the past state championship appearances for San Luis High School boys soccer:
2020-21: Brophy 1, San Luis 1 (Brophy wins 3-2 on penalty kicks)
2014-15: Queen Creek 3, San Luis 0
2005-06: Ironwood 2, San Luis 0