The girls that make up Camp Verde's girls' soccer team had a similar schedule as their male counterparts, playing a final regular season game against Chino Valley before attending the Old Pueblo Classic at Desert Christian.
The girls traveled to Chino Valley High School and dropped a heart breaker to the Cougars in a game that "we should have won," said head coach Pat Allen. The girls dominated through most of the game, but while the Cougars were able to find the back of the net in the first half, the Cowboys were not able to get the ball past the goalie, losing 1-0 to their rival.
"We should have won that one. We dominated, but we just couldn't put it in the net," Allen said. "We dominated the second half, completely, and just couldn't find the back of the net. It was just one of those games, a good game. The girls played well."
The Cougars' lone goal was scored when senior goal tender Adilene Carrillo left the box to defend a shot, but the shot got by her. That was the only goal scored by Chino Valley, but it was all they needed.
"Everybody gets scored on, but we just couldn't find the back of the net," Allen said. "We're working on it, trying to find (what works). Different arrangements, different players in different positions, that's what we did this weekend, at the tournament, had players playing in all kinds of crazy places."
At Old Pueblo, the girls were feeling the wear-and-tear of the final stretch of the season. The Cowboys ended the tournament going 0-2-2. Camp Verde's two losses were to Blue Ridge and Round Valley (3-0, 2-1), and their ties were against Payson and Snowflake (1-1, 1-1).
"We had four or five on the bench, injured most of the time, Maddie didn't play at all, well, maybe five minutes then we pulled her," Allen said. "Her hips are messed up. We had Katrina (Esparza) benched for the first two games because of her ankle."
This led to Allen experimenting, moving girls around to fill spots, trying new formations and getting his younger players more varsity playing time.
"Tournaments are to have fun, get some of your younger players on the field, some of your less experienced players, get them more grass time," Allen said. "We did a lot of different stuff. We moved people around, played a different configuration."
Both teams the Cowboys lost to, Blue Ridge and Round Valley, are currently ranked No. 1 in their sections, so Allen and his team were happy with the results, especially with how close the Blue Ridge game was.
The Yellowjackets are "probably the strongest team in the division right now," Allen said, sitting at 3-0-2 on the season and 1-0 in Division-IV, Section-III, so the 1-point loss helped lift the girls up and build some steam, even if they were doing the same things as the Cowboys.
"I'm sure they were doing the same, playing some of their younger players, but it makes us feel good," Allen said. "They played real well, we really did."
The girls return to conference play on Oct. 10 against River Valley at home. The Dust Devils sit in second place in Section-II with a conference record of 2-1-1. Camp Verde currently is last in S-II, but a win could move the girls ahead of Chino Valley.
If Allen and his team want to continue their season past Oct. 22, they have to be sure and finish in the top-8 of D-IV. Of the 13 teams in D-IV, three have worse records then the Cowboys, and depending on how the final four games shake out (a contest against Arizona College Prep was canceled), the Cowboys could move ahead of other teams.
"We played very well," Allen said. "It's just any team, any day. We're progressing."