Led by a hat trick from freshman midfielder Vivien Villarreal, No. 2 ranked Walden Grove rolled past No. 1 Sahuarita, 4-0, on Wednesday night.
But the bigger storyline was the matchup itself since it was the first game between the soccer programs with both teams at the top of the AIA power rankings.
After Wednesday's game, the programs remained atop the new rankings released Thursday morning but they swapped spots. The Walden Grove Red Wolves are now on top.
"That's what I was talking about with Brian (Sahuarita head coach Brian Wright) over there. It's such a big thing," Walden Grove head coach Troy Bosley said. "Every year, we feel like we get good results but we just don't get that high ranking. It's like they finally start to see what's coming out of here in our soccer community, and our small community should be very proud."
The No. 1 ranking for Sahuarita had marked the first time it occupied the top spot since the AIA unveiled its power rankings in 2013-14.
Wright counts the loss as a minor setback.
"Life's all about building and rebuilding," he said. "We built ourselves up to this. We've gotten knocked down a few rungs tonight. We recover, rebuild and get ourselves another win streak going and try to find our way to get in a good spot in the playoffs."
Sahuarita (7-1) finished with only seven shots on goal. They struggled all night primarily because the team couldn't get the ball to senior forwards Samantha Wright, who has 110 goals with the varsity program and is averaging 2.2 goals per game this season, and Rylee Arrington, who is averaging two goals per game.
The constant attack on offense from Walden Grove (6-0) wore down the Mustang defense, leading to 16 shots on goal, with Villarreal recording her first hat trick with the Red Wolves, scoring in the match's 11th, 19th and 67th minutes.
"It's just a great feeling. I'm happy for these girls, and this one is amazing, Villarreal said. "Moving forward, it's going to be a very good conference win for the team."
Villarreal played with several Sahuarita players in youth soccer.
"Those are former teammates, you know," Villarreal said. "During this game, before this game and after this game we're always keeping in touch, and during the game, we're always talking so it's fun."
Junior Milana Eyrich assisted on Villareal's second goal. When senior forward Jessica Garcia scored in the 68th minute, the game was already well out of reach for Sahuarita.
The big picture
Wright, who coached Villarreal in youth soccer, briefly spoke with Boswell when shaking hands after the game.
"My message to him was take it as far as you can get it. If we can't win it all this year, I hope you do," Wright said. "I'm just as proud of his player (Villarreal), the one that scored the three goals. I gave her a big old hug because she's my kid from when she was younger. I've been coaching her since she was a baby. She moved on when she was in sixth grade, but if I can't win, I hope she wins. I hope they win. I hope this community gets to taste a little bit of winning."
Thursday's AIA power ranking of No. 1 for Walden Grove is the first time it has occupied the top spot since it won its only state championship in program history in 2014-15, when it played in the old Division III configuration. Today, both schools compete in the 4A Gila division.
Walden Grove lost in the 4A state semifinal last season to eventual champion Salpointe Catholic in penalty kicks.
"It's an amazing accomplishment but it's not our end goal," Bosley said of the ranking. "Our end goal is that state championship. Losing in the semifinal last year has kind of fueled our fire. We're not done until we get to the final and win it. This is great, this is all nice, but we've got a bigger picture."