TUCSON, Ariz---Down early by a goal on the road in a must win situation, the Arizona Western Lady Matadors (10-4-3 overall, 6-2-2 ACCAC) came back to knock off the Pima Aztecs (9-6-1 overall, 6-3-1 overall) and clinch a spot in the Region I Playoffs next week.
The Matadors entered the match in fifth place in the conference standings fighting for one of the six spots in the post-season tournament to determine a Region I representative for the NJCAA tournament. With two teams within two points of the Mats, it was a must-win for AWC on the road against a Pima team that could clinch a first round bye with a win.
The Aztec's Alexis Tapia opened the scoring in the ninth minute on a corner, guiding in the pass from Taylor Gutierrez.
But the Matadors responded just eleven minutes later when Karen Rivas evened the match at 1-1.
Tyra McKenzie would give the Matadors the lead, ultimately for good, striking in the 29th minute.
With a 2-1 lead at the half, AWC played solid defense until Rivas setup Vera Asare's deep strike for the insurance goal and a 3-1 lead.
The goal proved to live up to the insurance moniker as Pima struck two minutes later when Savannah Samorano scored less than two minutes later to pull within one.
But the Matadors did not bend any further to seal their playoff spot, leapfrogging the Aztecs in the ACCAC standings as well.
The Matadors win helped shape the ACCAC shake-up, but Chandler-Gilbert's win over Mesa determined the order. The Coyotes jumped to the second seed and became the tie-breaker for AWC and Paradise Valley (who tied each other and both teams also tied Conference Champion Cochise). The tie-breaker went down all the way to when PVCC beat Chandler-Gilbert while the Matadors lost to CGCC. Paradise Valley earned the third seed while the Matadors pick up the 4th spot and a home game on Tuesday, October 29th. Pima falls to the 5th spot while Phoenix College rounds out the field.
The Lady Matadors will see the same Pima Aztec team they just defeated, Tuesday night at the Matador Soccer Field.