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Metro Soccer: La Cueva, Albuquerque boys face off

The boys and girls semifinals of the Albuquerque Metro Soccer Championships are on tap Wednesday night at the APS Complex.

The games are staggered, with two 6:30 p.m. starts and the other two at 6:45. Winners move into the final Friday night (girls 6:45, boys 7:15).

BOYS: Three of the four pool winners went unbeaten (3-0). The most competitive pool was the one that featured Albuquerque Academy, Eldorado and Cleveland.

Each of those three went 2-1 in that four-team pool that included Rio Grande. The tiebreaker was goal differential in head-to-head games between that trio, which is why Academy advanced over the Eagles and Storm.

At 6:45 p.m., Academy faces Valley, which is into the metro semis for the second straight year. The Vikings and new coach Orlando Ramirez beat Volcano Vista in overtime Saturday to get a semifinal berth.

The marquee semi, however, is the one at 6:30 as last year’s state finalists, La Cueva and Albuquerque High, square off. The Bears beat the Bulldogs in the championship game last November.

“You (could) see right away when we got back together that the memory of how that season finished is still with the guys,” AHS coach Lucien Starzynski said.

The Bulldogs won all three pool games by shutout, including solid victories over Sandia and Rio Rancho. The Bears, like Valley, won in OT to advance, downing Atrisco Heritage 2-1 last Saturday.

AHS and La Cueva also meet at the complex in regular-season play Sept. 7.

GIRLS: In the semifinals, La Cueva (3-0) faces Volcano Vista (2-1) at 6:30 p.m., while Sandia (2-1) meets Cleveland (5-0) at 6:45.

Among the more eye-popping results during the week of pool play was Sandia’s 4-2 victory over two-time defending 6A state champion Cibola.

“Am I surprised? No,” Matadors coach David Disko said. “It could just as easily gone the other way. We’re pleased to have gotten through into the semifinals.”

Cleveland has outscored its opponents 38-1 this season.

Volcano Vista’s girls, like Academy’s boys, squeaked into the semis after emerging from a three-way pool-play deadlock with AHS and Academy. It was a 2-0 victory over the Chargers on Saturday that made the difference.

La Cueva’s girls haven’t surrendered a goal this season.