Notre Dame captures 5A soccer crown with 4-1 win over Campo Verde

February 24, 2024 by Ben Stapley, AZPreps365

Notre Dame players celebrate a first half goal by Whitney Reinhardt. Photo by Ben Stapley

Notre Dame Prep is Arizona's best 5A soccer team and the Saints left no doubt Saturday afternoon. 
Riding a steady defense and consistent offensive attack, Notre Dame took down Campo Verde, 4-1 in the state title game at Mesa High. 
The Saints got two second half goals from star forward Paxton Brock, and first half goals from Skyler Ortega and Whitney Reinhardt, as Notre Dame's offense had Campo Verde on its heels all game long. 
It was Notre Dame's fourth soccer title. The Saints (17-4-1) did not lose to a 5A Arizona team all season. 
"This is really one of the best feelings in the world," Bock said after holding up the championship trophy. 
"We've worked so hard since last year, because this was our goal to win a championship like this. I'm so proud of this team."

Bock, who will continue her soccer career at Southern Methodist University, finished the season with 36 goals. The final two helped seal the title for Notr Dame, which controlled the tempo and posession much of the game. 

Ortega's goals came just nine minutes into the contest, when the junior found an opening from 20 yards out and drilling it through the goal before goalkeeper Taylor Sullivan could react.

Notre Dame's second score sent the Saints into the halftime break with full control of the game. With :58 left in the half, Whitney Reinhardt was able to break through two Campo Verde defenders right in front of the goal before kicking it in from short range and a 2-0 lead. 

Nine minutes into the second half, Bock scored her first goal on an incredible head shot from 12 yards, and suddenly it was 3-0 with 31 minutes remaining in the game. 

Campo Verde wasn't done though. Shannon Healy scored the Coyotes only goal a few minutes later on a terrific shot through traffic, giving Campo Verde life.

But the Coyotes weren't able to get many more good looks, and Bock scored another outstanding goal on her own, as she dribbled towards the center of the field from about 15 yards, kicking it sideways off her right foot over the goalkeeper for a commanding 4-1 lead and 21 minutes left in the game.
After falling in last year's semifinal round, returning Notre Dame players had their sights set. 
"Since losing in the semifinals last year, they said 'we're going to get to the finals next year'," Notre Dame coach Michael Varela said. 
"From the beginning they said they wanted to win a state title, so I just put the ball down and set up the sessions, and they came out there and did all of the worklet them go to work, so it was a fantastic job by our  seniors and the captains and the rest of the team."

Campo Verde (14-8-1) was looking for its third title in five seasons. Coach Andrew Guarneri gave credit to Notre Dame for slowing down the Coyote attack. 
"Notre Dame is a great team and they really put the pressure on. There's a reason why they were the No. 1 team all year," Guarneri said. 
"But I'm proud of our kids they've got a lot of heart in everything they do."