8/28/2013 8:38:00 AM Yavapai soccer off to a good start, until the storms rolled in
Yavapai College Roughrider soccer captain Matthew Paine controls the ball during a match with Chandler-Gilbert Thursday night at Prescott Valley’s Mountain Valley Park amphitheater field. The game was rained out and will be re-played at 2 p.m. on Labor Day at the amphitheater.
Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz
Yavapai College men's soccer team's 2013 season and conference opener Thursday night against Chandler-Gilbert at Prescott Valley's Mountain Valley Park was called because of a thunderstorm, but not until captain Matthew Paine had scored twice and only 26 minutes remained in the game. Photos by Cheryl Hartz.
Mother Nature had her way with the Yavapai College men's soccer team's 2013 season and conference opener Thursday night at Prescott Valley's Mountain Valley Park, and again Saturday for what would have been a home match against Glendale.
After a 90-minute delay due to lightning in the area, referee Matt Stewart ruled Thursday's game a "no contest" with the Roughriders leading Chandler-Gilbert 2-0 and just 26 minutes and 40 seconds left in the second half.
College soccer rules state that a match must go at least 70 of the 90 minutes of regulation for it to count in the standings. Yavapai would have needed only 6 more minutes to make the game official.
Stewart said all stats from Thursday's match will be nullified, and that it will be ACCAC athletic administrator Greg Silcox's decision whether it's re-played.
However, Yavapai coach Mike Pantalione said afterward that the league game must be rescheduled.
"The officials did a good job - they're going by the book," he said. "They're under the direction of athletic trainers, who are monitoring the situation minute by minute. Safety of the players is primary."
The coach added that it's a matter of both Yavapai and Chandler-Gilbert determining a "rain date," which he said the ACCAC allows one per each half of the regular season.
On Thursday, the NJCAA preseason No. 5-ranked Roughriders took a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute on a goal from team captain Matthew Paine. Paine scored again with just over half-a-minute remaining in the first half to take a 2-0 lead into the break.
At that point, lightning and rain from a fast-moving thunderstorm were moving rapidly toward the field. Officials moved quickly to get the second half going, and it went off without a hitch until the lightning simply came too close.
For the ensuing 90 minutes, rain fell sporadically and lightning continued to flash close by.
Around 8:40 p.m., Stewart called the game when the intervals in between lightning flashes came too close together.
The previous weekend, almost the exact same thing happened to Yavapai when it tried to scrimmage against Embry-Riddle at Ken Lindley Field. The game was called on Saturday because of lightning, and again on Sunday when the teams tried a second time.
"We attempted a kickoff with Embry-Riddle on Saturday and never got the match started due to lightning," Pantalione said. "We rescheduled it for Sunday and essentially maybe got 30 minutes of play in before the match was halted similar to tonight."
Pantalione said that in the 25 years he's been the YC coach, he could recall play being delayed once or twice, but soon being resumed.
"Never did we get this far into a match where we had to come back at a later date and replay it," he added.
The match has been rescheduled for Labor Day, Sept. 2, at 2 p.m. at Mountain Valley Park.
This past Saturday's game against Glendale also was postponed after some jockeying around. The Roughriders had moved the game from its originally scheduled site at Ken Lindley Field in Prescott to Mountain Valley Park, anticipating that rainfall could make a mess out of the Prescott field, which it shares with a dirt softball diamond.
Instead, with a forecast for heavy rain and thunderstorms all weekend, they scrapped the match. It will be made up some time in September.
Ironically, this year marked just the second time in the program's 25-year history that the soccer team had three consecutive home games scheduled to start a season.
Yavapai will try to salvage the third game in that stretch tomorrow, Aug. 29, when Pima is scheduled to visit Mountain Valley Park for a 6 p.m. kickoff.