Thatcher soccer moves onto state semis

Contributed Photo: The Thatcher soccer team has advanced to the semifinals after blowing through the 3A East Region and its first two playoff games.

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

GLENDALE – It will be some bird on bird action Tuesday, Feb. 15, as the No. 2 Thatcher Eagles boys soccer team takes on the No. 3 Phoenix Country Day Eagles at Glendale High School, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the 2022 3A Boys Soccer State Championship Playoffs.  

Thatcher (7-0 region, 11-0 conference, 17-3-1 overall) won the 3A East Region and has torn through the state playoffs with a first-round victory over No. 15 Pusch Ridge, 4-1, on Feb. 8, and a quarterfinals victory over No. 7 AZ College Prep, 3-0, on Saturday, Feb. 12 – both games were played at Eastern Arizona College.

A win on Tuesday could match Thatcher up with No. 1-seed American Leadership Academy-Gilbert North, which tied Thatcher 2-2 on Dec. 29, 2021, in their only meeting this season.

ALA-Gilbert North is playing No. 4 Northwest Christian in the other semifinal on Tuesday, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Glendale High School. The Championship game will be played Friday, Feb. 18, at Glendale High School, starting at 7:15 p.m.   

Hunter Lee has been one of the standouts for Thatcher this season. Lee was a leader in the 3A East and as of Monday was in the third spot for points (64) and goals (26) and is fourth in assists with 12 on the season. 

The Eagles are a pass-happy team, and two other players, Timothy Fox (10), and Joey Rojas (9) are 5th and 6th, respectively, in the region for assists. Rojas is also fifth for goals with 19, and Derick Bierman is listed as the second-most prolific goal-stopper in the conference, with just over 1 goal allowed on average per game. Bierman is listed at third for overall saves with 111 on the season.  

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