YUMA, Ariz–Down a player for 85 minutes, the Arizona Western Lady Matadors (11-4-3 overall, 6-2-2 ACCAC) advanced to the Region I Semifinals thanks to a 45-yard missile from Tyra McKenzie to dispatch the Pima Aztecs (9-8-1 overall, 6-3-1 ACCAC) Tuesday night on the Matador Soccer Field.
The game was chippy from the start but when Pima had a pass slip past the Matador defense, Elizabeth Ephraim was whistled for a red card for a tackle on Samantha Samorano just outside of the box, only five minutes in.
The Matadors were forced to play with just 10 players the rest of the way.
Neither team was able to create many opportunities in a defensive struggle throughout the first half. But the physical play piled up as AWC was whistled for ten fouls, while Pima was called for four in the first half.
The tough, choppy contest spilled into the second half with neither team creating many opportunities until Pima took a pair of free kicks just outside of the box. The Matador defense held tight until Eliani Neri was given a yellow card in the 68th minute.
Pima upped the attack and slipped in Samorano behind the defense in the 70th minute. Matador Keeper Melanie Yanez came out and ended up tripping Samorano, drawing a yellow.
The Matadors were forced to shuffle the defense and put Linda Obare in at goal. Obare made a spectacular save while in net and allowed the Matadors to get Yanez back in goal.
Seven minutes after the yellow, AWC finally found its offense as McKenzie launched a shot from over 45-yards away that carried into the back of the net to break the tie.
The Matadors had to avoid several more pushes from Pima to hold on to the 1-0 win.
Arizona Western advances to play top-seeded Cochise Thursday afternoon at 2:00pm in Douglas in the Region I Semifinal.