Rain, followed by fog so thick the players barely could see the other side of the pitch, didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the Bradshaw Mountain Lady soccer Bears, as they defeated Sedona 1-0 on Senior Night Thursday.
Bradshaw coach John Sterling said although weather was a factor, he "wouldn't have it any other way."
"The ball seems to skip and pick up speed under those (wet, slick) conditions," Sterling said.
The Lady Bears dominated the game, but the Lady Scorpions' defense repelled every attempt to score until senior forward Brooke Smith buried a loose ball into the net late in the first half.
Bradshaw senior goalkeeper Delaney Prestia stopped Sedona's every shot, despite a barrage in the final minutes of the game, to preserve the win.
"Delaney was incredible tonight," her coach said. "Sedona put us on our heels in the last five minutes, but she made several key saves throughout the game."
He also praised the play of senior defender Kayla Hegland, who even managed to take shots from 40 yards out, as well as junior defender Heidi Madler, who "played a smart game and was always in position to make the play."
"I've told you all season long, I am so very, very proud of this team, so very proud of all of these girls. They've performed above and beyond anything that I could have asked for this year," Sterling said.
The game was a final one for most of the team, as Bradshaw missed qualifying for play-offs. He said he will miss the seniors.
"I knew the talent was there all along. It was just getting them to believe in themselves, then taking the shackles off and letting them play," he said.
Sterling said graduating 11 talented players will mean rebuilding and the challenges that brings, but he believes a strong core group will keep the team in the spotlight. In addition to Heidi Madler, her younger sister - freshman Hannah - is maturing in her soccer skills. He includes juniors Jocelyn Nunez, Taylor Hancock and Kiara Montoya in the mix of next year's leaders.
"They certainly made it an exciting year and definitely put Bradshaw girls' soccer on the map; now the challenge is to keep it there," Sterling said.