ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — You couldn’t find two girls soccer programs more opposite than Albuquerque Academy and Aztec, and that is the pairing for today’s Class 4A state championship game.
In Friday afternoon’s semifinals at a rainy APS Complex, the Chargers downed St. Pius, while the Tigers won an overtime thriller against Los Alamos.
Academy (19-3) and Aztec (20-2) meet at 10:30 a.m. today.
No. 1 ACADEMY 2, No. 4 ST. PIUS 0: “That,” Chargers coach Pete Clinch said, “was a (game worthy of a) final.”
The longtime rivals went 70 minutes without a goal, and the eventual game-winner was scored without an Academy player touching the ball. Natatlie DuBoise’s corner kick was accidentally headed into the St. Pius net by the Sartans’ Macie Clemens.
Said St. Pius coach David Sullivan: “That’s soccer sometimes. I understand that.”
In the 79th minute, DuBoise added the insurance. She carved a direct kick around the St. Pius wall and left-footed it into the far corner from about 22 yards out.
After two losses to Academy during district, the Sartans (14-8), Clinch noted, added an extra defender and moved midfielder Gabrielle Campbell, “from side to side to take away our threats on the flanks. It took us a while to break loose.”
“All credit to Pius,” added Clinch, who will coach his final game with Academy today after recently announcing his resignation.
– James Yodice
No. 3 AZTEC 3, No. 2 LOS ALAMOS 0 (OT): Jessica Kresl’s blast from near the top of the circle, just outside the 18-yard box, in the 84th minute, sent the Tigers to their first state title game. Kresl made a run to the middle on the game-winning play, and the Hilltoppers allowed her room to shoot.
“She was looking for someone to pass to, and they stepped back on defense,” Aztec coach Stephen Parks said. “I could hear (Los Alamos) saying, ‘No shot! No shot!'”
Kresl stepped up a fired into the left corner.
Parks said Aztec is ready for the Chargers: “We’re going into it with some confidence.”
In today’s 3:30 p.m. 4A boys title match, two first-year head coaches will go head-to-head, after No. 2 Chaparral and defending champion No. 4 Farmington won Friday’s semifinals. “We’re from the north and they’re from the south, so I don’t really know much about them,” said Farmington coach Ryan Atkinson of Chaparral. “But if the seeding is correct – I want to play the best of the best – I’m looking forward to the matchup.”
No. 2 CHAPARRAL 1, No. 3 LOS ALAMOS 0 (OT): For Lobos coach Fernando Mendoza, he said advancing to the final just affirms his team’s high seed. “We may be unknown because we’re down in southern New Mexico near El Paso … but we came in here wanting to show we deserve respect … We’re in an area full of hidden gems.”
After going scoreless in regulation, Lobo Edgar Lopez was tackled by a Hilltopper in the goal box. The senior forward then converted the penalty kick to end the match.
No. 4 FARMINGTON 1, No. 8 CAPITAL 0: Jermey Klepac scored off a quick pass from Omar Romero in the 39th minute, and Farmington held on.
– Vince Kong