Three hundred and fifty-eight days.
That’s how many days elapsed between the 2008 Marana girls’ soccer team’s season-ending, 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Canyon Del Oro Dorados, and the 2009 rematch that occurred Friday night.
During that time, according to Marana head coach Dan Tarquin, the 12-4-2 Tigers did something every practice or game to prepare for the Dorados.
“We had a very important goal of beating CDO — our last game of the season last year was against the Dorados, and we lost 1-0 after playing 0-0 for the first 78 minutes,” Tarquin said.
“It was a heartbreaker to have the girls play so hard, so much higher than people expected them to, and then come away with a loss,” he added of last year’s 8-8-5 squad.
This season’s team went even farther. The Tigers fought the 7-7 Dorados to a 1-1 standoff before a disputed Marana penalty gave CDO a penalty kick as time expired. The Dorados capitalized on the call, Liz Wong scoring to win 2-1.
The bruising, physical contest ended on a sour note for the Tigers, as three red cards were called on Marana, including one on Tarquin. After the game officially ficially ended, the coach raced to the center of the field to dispute the late penalty call, resulting in the red card.
“A bad call is a bad call,” he added with a shake of his head. “But we can’t get all the breaks all of the time.
“I’m disappointed, but really proud of the girls, they worked really hard,” said Tarquin.
Arizona Interscholastic Association rules dictated that Tarquin and the two players sit out Tuesday’s game against 13-2 Catalina Foothills, but on Friday, the importance of the suspensions took a backseat to a newly-minted Tigers’ slogan.
“Two weeks,” said Tarquin. “We get (CDO) again in the (4A) Sonoran tournament in two weeks.”
Despite disappointment with Friday’s outcome, junior midfielder Jade Carr was already thinking of what the Tigers needed to do for the next time they face CDO.
“We left our hearts out on that field,” said Carr, who scored Marana’s only goal in the game. “Now, we have the rematch in two weeks, and we need to up our intensity in practices.”
Although the result was not what Tiger players and coaches wanted, the game had many bright spots for Marana.
Sophomore goalkeeper Tori Stocker was nearly impenetrable for much of the contest, alternating between diving saves and ensuring good offensive field position with booming downfield kicks.
Marana pressured the CDO goal relentlessly during the game thanks in large part to the shifty and physical play of sophomore Jessi Koeppen. Sophomore forward Ashley Willoughby provided a push on the other side of the field.
Senior defender Erica Urbina and sophomore Nikki Koeppen ensured the goal was protected on the rare occasion that Stocker found herself out of position.
In addition to scoring the only Marana goal, Carr also took every Tiger throw-in opportunity, often launching the ball across most of the field to an open teammate, and on defense helped to stuff CDO scoring drives.
“She’s … ferocious,” said Tarquin with a grin.
Ferocious might also describe what the upcoming rematch will look like.
And, in what has become a heated and bitter rivalry, the next Marana-CDO game has special significance to Tarquin and his Tigers.
“We’re switching divisions next year,” said Tarquin. “This might be the last time we get a shot at them.”