TUCSON, Ariz---The Arizona Western Matadors Men's Soccer Team are the Region I Champions in 2019 after a hard-fought battle with the defending National Champion Pima Aztecs Saturday night at the Kino Sports Complex.
It took 110 scoreless minutes and seven rounds of penalty kicks to decide the Region Champion, but Arizona Western leaped into celebration as the Aztec's seventh penalty attempt sailed high.
Before that kick though, both teams battled and exchanged chances pressing both goalkeepers into action. The Aztec's Nils Roth kept the Matadors off the score line with eight saves while Matador keeper Duro Dragicevic registered five game-saving stops to push the game level.
Each team had a player with a yellow for a hard challenge, but neither team ceeded the game defining opportunity.
Overtime was much of the same with both defenses and keepers preventing extra chances.
That sent the Region I Final into penalty kicks with AWC quickly jumping out 2-0 on scores by Kristjan Recci and Derek Fournier. Duro Dragicevic saved the first Aztec attempt with a heel kick that deflected out off of the cross bar. But Pima came right back after the Mat's third attempt hit the post and the Aztecs tied it at 2-2. It was neck and neck as every shot went down from there. Michele Signorelli, Jesus Sanchez and Jed Bowman all scored making the penalty kick round 6-5 in favor of Arizona Western. The seventh attempt from Pima sailed high, allowing the Matadors to celebrate for the first time since 2010 as Region Champions.
Arizona Western now moves onto the District Championship on Saturday November 9th at the Region 18 Champion. Time, Opponent and Location will be announced soon.