ALBUQUERQUE ACADEMY CHARGERS
Coach: Pete Clinch (6th year)
Key players: Caroline Growney, sr., FW; Brooks Brennan, soph., D; Mackenzie Miller, jr., MF; Michaela Supple, jr., GK; Victoria Grano, jr., GK; Sage Townsend, sr., D; Kiley Loehr, sr., D.
Outlook: Led by Growney, who has verbaled to Cornell and is one of the state’s premier scorers, the Chargers are out to win a fourth straight Class 4A state title. Academy has two strong keepers, a veteran defense and few weaknesses. Miller will play a key role directing the midfield. Supple and Growney are returning first-team all-state selections.
ALBUQUERQUE HIGH BULLDOGS
Coach: Gary Zink (1st year)
Key players: Lily Dorato, sr., FW; Ciara Pino, sr., D; Gabriella Tafoya, sr., FW/MF; Breanna Atencio, jr., D.
Outlook: The Bulldogs ran the tables in District 5-5A a year ago and new coach Zink said that’s a possibility again this season. Most of the back line is back from last year’s 15-3 squad, while Dorato should give Albuquerque High some punch up front. Zink, who arrives from the club coaching scene, said he has a few freshmen who could also make an immediate impact.
ATRISCO HERITAGE ACADEMY JAGUARS
Coach: Kenny Salazar (1st year)
Key players: Tania Botello, sr., FW; Lee Dominguez, sr., D; Annahi Muñoz, sr., MF; Cinthia Gallegos, sr., FW; Alejandra Salinas, jr., MF.
Outlook: Coming off a winless season, the Jags have nowhere to go but up. Salazar said he wants to utiilize his team’s great speed — led by Botello — as he works on building a chemistry.
Coach: Will Carrasco (1st year)
Key players: Maria Sabinas, soph., GK; Amber Saiz, sr., D; Annie Blair, sr., D; Dallas Ulibarri-Verring, sr. D.
Outlook: The bulk of the Eagles’ age and experience can be found on defense, but Carrasco — promoted from assistant coach — said the team will benefit all over the field from speed and athleticism.
Coach: Larry Baca (5th year)
Key players: Shayla Colton, sr., D; Claudia DeLara, sr., GK; Tilly Smith, sr., FW; Amanda Montoya, sr., MF; Hailey Johnson, sr., MF.
Outlook: The Spartans think 2011 will finally be the year for the program’s first-ever playoff berth. And with 13 seniors, Bernalillo seems to have a decent shot at it, led by a quartet of first-team all-district performers in Colton, Smith, Johnson and DeLara.
BOSQUE SCHOOL BOBCATS
Coach: Ed Cole (8th year)
Key players: Mercedes Ramos, sr., MF/D; Annie Allison, jr., MF; Louisa Mackenzie, soph., GK; Nina Raby, jr., MF; Sarah Moulton, soph., FW; Sydney Schneider, soph., FW; Laura Trost, fresh., D.
Outlook: Cole has a young but athletic group this year, and it’s a very quick bunch as well. Ramos is the team’s only senior. Schneider is a third-year sophomore, and Raby is a strong presence in the midfield. The Bobcats will have to deal with defending 1A-3A state champ Hope Christian in district.
Coach: David Disko (3rd year)
Key players: Kelsey Harney, sr., MF; Janelle Lucero, sr., MF; Ali Smith-Fassler, soph., MF; Courtnee Urrea, jr., MF; Victoria Vialpando, sr., D; Alanna Byrne, sr., D.
Outlook: Cibola is definitely a contender in 5A, but this is still on the whole a very young team — it carried 11 freshmen last year — and the Cougars may still be a year away. Cibola is strong, and has depth, at every position. Defense is a strong suit, and Disko is implementing a new attacking formation, which is a work in progress.
Coach: Amanda Lovato (3rd year)
Key players: Emily Cubbage, sr., MF; Courtney Dudley, sr., D; Xan Ortiz, sr., GK; Caitlyn Espinosa, sr., D; Mikaela Haley, sr., D; Julissa Hunte, sr., FW.
Outlook: The Storm will again be a major factor in 5A, led by the St. John’s-bound Cubbage and the Notre Dame-bound Dudley, who’ll be Big East rivals once their careers here end. Both were all-state choices last year. Cleveland lost some size and power off its 2010 squad, but this is still one of New Mexico’s best teams.
DEL NORTE KNIGHTS
Coach: Heath Weihe (15th year)
Key players: Jenna Thurman, jr. MF; Amber Machac, jr. FW; Jessica Scherrer, jr., D; Taylor Jarosz, sr., GK.
Outlook: Jarosz is the only senior on a team that may need some time to find its groove after the graduation of 10 players, including Class 4A’s 2010 Player of the Year Jamie Fletcher. Machac, a returning first-team All-State player who had 23 goals last year, leads a strong junior class.
Coach: Tom Hirschman (8th year)
Key players: Kaley Smith, sr., D; Christine Martinez, jr., FW; Victoria Archuleta, jr., D; Amanda Rudolph, soph., MF; Jamie Hoberg, sr., MF; Mariah Spencer, sr., FW.
Outlook: The Eagles are rebuilding when they didn’t think they would be. The program has lost some athletes to other sports, Hirschman said, and that’s damaged the program. Eldorado’s standouts, led by Smith (an all-stater who is going to Kansas), must play big. Martinez is being moved from defense last year to an attacking position this fall.
EAST MOUNTAIN TIMBERWOLVES
Coach: Paula Foster (1st year)
Key players: Mimi Trusiano, sr., MF; Lila Murray, sr., FW; Anna Baldoni, sr., FW; Emily Baldoni, fresh., FW.
Outlook: Hired only weeks ago, La Cueva graduate and former Park University player Foster is still acquainting herself with the Timberwolves, but said she sees offensive firepower and enough talent to replenish a graduation-depleted defensive unit. The team, 11-9 a year ago, is senior-heavy but could get a boost from gifted freshmen like Emily Baldoni.
Coach: Brenda Vizcaino (2nd year)
Key players: Melissa Gomez, sr., FW; Paola Gomez, sr., MF; Katey Garcia, jr., GK.
Outlook: Rebuilding continues at Highland, but the program is settling into a rhythm. Last season generated just one win, but a foundation was laid that Vizcaino hopes will lead to continued development. The Hornets’ strength will be up front and in the midfield, but work is needed to shore up the defense.
HOPE CHRISTIAN HUSKIES
Coach: Ron Espinoza (2nd year)
Key players: Devin Hart, jr., FW; Erika Nelson, sr., MF; Sara Cauwels, sr., D; Robyn Walker, jr., GK; Sabrina Almager, sr., MF.
Outlook: Nine Hope starters are back from last year’s state championship team, and so is the team’s quickness. Graduation spared the Huskies’ defense, though it took Class 1A/3A Player of the Year Angie Lee, a midfielder. Espinoza expects Nelson to pick up where Lee left off and for a large influx of freshmen to help with Hope’s depth concerns.
LA CUEVA BEARS
Coach: Amber Ashcraft (16th year)
Key players: Shelby Garcia, sr., FW; Dee Johnson, sr., FW; Maggie Sabek, jr., D; Hattie Schunk, jr., D/MF; Courtney Riley, jr., MF; Taylor Chagnon, sr., GK.
Outlook: The Bears lost 13 seniors, so Ashcraft is still trying to get a handle on how this team will fit together. To its benefit, La Cueva does have a strong senior and junior class. The Bears have lost in the 5A finals the last two Novembers, and they really want to get over that hump.
LOS LUNAS TIGERS
Coach: James Torres (5th year)
Key players: Cienna Thompson, jr., D; Sierra Harland, sr., MF; Alli Madrid, jr., D; Justine Candelaria, soph., D.
Outlook: Only four players return from last year’s varsity team, and three of them are on defense. Torres said the Tigers will be especially young up front and in the middle but expects his relatively inexperienced bunch to remain a contender in District 6-4A, where Los Lunas finished 9-1 last year.
Coach: Brian Pecorella (1st year)
Key players: Emily Ashcraft, soph., GK; Francesca Picchi-Wilson, jr., MF; Nohelani Herrera, jr., FW; Savannah Costales, jr., FW; Ashley Coleman, soph., FW.
Outlook: Pecorella takes over a team that won just two games a year ago and didn’t score a goal in uber-competitive District 2-5A, but the veteran club coach said things will be different in 2011. The Monarchs are approaching the season with a clear focus, and the coach expects vast improvement from 2010.
Coach: Valerie Luker (1st year)
Key players: Taylor Luker, jr., GK; Hannah Allcorn, fresh., FW/D; Madison Jones, jr, MF; Britanie Fryar, sr., D; Alex Anaya, sr., D.
Outlook: Former junior varsity coach Luker takes over and is hoping to increase numbers in the program and get the Pintos back into the playoffs after last year’s 4-11 season. Moriarty will place a greater emphasis on attacking this season.
RIO GRANDE RAVENS
Coach: Carlos Mandujano (3rd year)
Key players: Flor Rios, sr., MF; Sierra Torres, sr., GK; Angelica Trujillo, sr., MF; Evangelina Cordova, sr., D; Gabriella Chavez, jr., MF.
Outlook: After losing 11 seniors, this is a team in transition. The Ravens nearly made it to state last year, edged at the end by a Cibola squad that won four fewer games (11-7). Rio Grande has a solid group of ninth- and 10th-graders in the program that will need to step in and contribute immediately.
RIO RANCHO RAMS
Coach: Uwe Balzis (15th year)
Key players: Solana Capello, sr., D; Mariah Peck, sr., D; Kacie Coffey, sr., D; Melissa Moxley, sr., MF.
Outlook: The Rams were a surprise 5A semifinalist last year, knocking off favored Cleveland in the quarterfinals. And this was a young team last year. Rio Rancho is counting on a group of sophomores, who played extensively on the varsity as freshmen, to show they are physically fit enough to handle their assignments. The entire back line returns.
Coach: Vladi Stanojevic (8th year)
Key players: Victoria Barba, sr., FW; Jordan Scott, sr., GK; Caitlin Mortensen, sr., D; Sophie Mancha, sr., D; Alex Arellano, sr., FW; Alicia Sanchez, soph., MF/FW.
Outlook: The Matadors have been a fantastic regular-season squad the last two years; they just haven’t finished at state. Barba, headed for San Diego State, is a great talent and one of the state’s top scorers. Scott, who has verbaled to Marquette, gives the Matadors a rock in goal. The District 2-5A crown probably runs through Sandia.
SANDIA PREP SUNDEVILS
Coach: Gina Cormier (1st year)
Key players: Taylor Campbell, sr., MF; Savannah Davidson, jr., FW; Riley Cronin, soph., D; Mary Michael, sr., GK; Natalie Reid, jr., FW.
Outlook: Cormier was promoted after Rick Smith left to concentrate on club soccer; she is a former Manzano and UNM player and this is her first head-coaching position. The Sundevils have a mix of experience and up-and-comers, with a strong midfield and speed up front. Cormier wants this team doing everything, including practice, at a game-type pace.
ST. PIUS SARTANS
Coach: David Sullivan (18th year)
Key players: Adrianna Naranjo, jr., MF; Gabriella Campbell, jr., FW; Lauren Shull, sr., MF; Macie Clemens, soph., D; Emma Durkin, sr., FW.
Outlook: In Naranjo (first-team all-state in 4A last year) and Campbell, the Sartans return their top two scorers, and this is still a fairly young team with a plethora of sophomores and juniors. The defense and midfield return virtually intact. This team should play deep into the postseason.
Coach: Kimberly Chavez-Burkhard (6th year)
Key players: Andrea Wilson, sr., FW; Norene Archuleta, jr., FW; Kaitlynn Craig, jr., FW/MF; Brittany Piro, jr., MF; Marissa Lopez, jr., D.
Outlook: This could be a breakthrough year for the Jaguars, who have yet to win a District 6-4A game since going varsity in 2009. The strength of the team is a large junior class that has played together consistently since eighth grade. That includes leading scorer Archuleta, who is back after an injury-marred sophomore season.
Coach: Greg Perez (3rd year)
Key players: Victoria Serna, sr., FW; Bailey Rowe, sr., D; Rebecca Sedillo, sr., FW; Selena Martinez, sr., MF.
Outlook: The Vikes have an abundance of experience, so they expect to compete hard with Albuquerque High for supremacy in 5-5A and perhaps be a sleeper team in the class. But depth is a problem.
VOLCANO VISTA HAWKS
Coach: Samantha Lucero (4th year)
Key players: Ashley Williams, sr., FW; Emma Fenske, sr., MF; Hannah Fenske, soph., GK; Olivia Ferrier, sr., D; Ruth Bruciaga, jr., MF; Alyssa Coonrod, sr., FW.
Outlook: The defending 5A state champions again should be exceptionally good as they return most of their top players. “We have a great team,” Lucero said. Volcano Vista only lost one starter from a 17-4 squad that beat La Cueva in the state finals. The Hawks will face strong challenges in 1-5A, a brutally difficult league. Williams, Bruciaga, Ferrier and Hanna Fenske were all first-team all-state selections last year.
WEST MESA MUSTANGS
Coach: Eric Taylor (2nd year)
Key players: Kayla Montgomery, sr., FW; Miranda Sena, jr., S; Aryn Archuleta, soph., FW; Noelle Whitmire, fresh., MF; Cilmy Toquinto, jr., MF.
Outlook: Taylor said it took his players time to adjust to his system, but feels they’re finally on the same page. Lots of versatile players are on this team, he said, in that they can play multiple positions.
— Compiled by James Yodice and Jessica Dyer