ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As predictable as falling leaves, late October finds many of the same elite programs seeded atop the state’s prep soccer brackets.
Such was true again Sunday, when the New Mexico Activities Association’s 2013 brackets were released. Familiar powers like Eldorado, La Cueva, St. Pius, Albuquerque Academy and Sandia Prep were in familiar spots as high seeds.
The most notable exception? Try Albuquerque High, the No. 1 seed in the Class 5A boys bracket. While they’ve been consistent contenders in recent seasons, the Bulldogs are not exactly used to such rarified air.
“I feel like it’s a great compliment,” AHS coach Lucien Starzynski said. “For years we’ve been getting better and better, so it’s a sign we’re going in the right direction.
“But once the games get started, it doesn’t really mean much. There’s a lot of good competition in the bracket.”
The Bulldogs (16-2) draw a bye for next week’s first round, as do No. 2 Eldorado, No. 3 Gadsden and No. 4 Volcano Vista. Each will advance to the quarterfinals, which begin Nov. 7 at the APS Soccer Complex.
Seeds five through 12 in each class will play first-round games this weekend at the lower team’s home site. Times are to be announced today.
4A BOYS: Academy (19-1), which lost only to 5A Sandia this season, drew the top spot, with Roswell, Farmington and Los Lunas seeded Nos. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, and earning first-round byes.
1A/3A BOYS: Three-time defending champ Sandia Prep (17-3) is the No. 1 seed, followed by No. 2 Bosque, No. 3 St. Michael’s and No. 4 Monte Del Sol.
In Class 4A, St. Pius (19-1) goes in as the favorite to finally snuff out Academy’s five-year run as champions. Sartans coach David Sullivan, whose program won four straight titles prior to Academy’s streak, hopes to cap his 20th season with the St. Pius girls with another crown.
“We do have the target,” Sullivan said, “but with the makeup of this team, I think the girls can handle it. They’ve worked really hard to put themselves in this position.”
Pius and fourth-seeded Academy could meet in the semifinals. Farmington and Aztec are seeded second and third, respectively.
5A GIRLS: Eldorado, 17-1 and winner of 11 straight, comes in as the No. 1 seed. The Eagles’ only loss came to Volcano Vista, the No. 4 seed. District 1-5A rivals Rio Rancho and Cleveland are seeded Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.
1A/3A GIRLS: Hope Christian (17-3) is the top seed, having lost only to 4A Aztec (twice) and 5A Cleveland this season. St. Michael’s, Sandia Prep and Taos are the respective 2, 3 and 4 seeds.