After navigating a brutal non-district schedule filled primarily with Class 6A schools, the Albuquerque Academy boys soccer team appears to be rounding into peak form.
The defending state champion Chargers, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, rolled past No. 8 Farmington 3-0 in a non-district matchup at Richard Harper Memorial Field on Saturday in a game that wasn’t nearly that close. Still, Academy coach Laney Kolek confirmed that it was close to being the Chargers’ top overall performance of the 2017 campaign.
“I think there were definitely spurts of some of the best play that we’ve seen all season,” Kolek said. “I think these guys are coming to form, figuring out how to play together, how to play off of each other. We were looking dangerous in the final third. And they’re doing their individual jobs correctly.”
While Academy (10-4-2, 3-0 2-5A) controlled possession, passed well and attacked the Farmington goal consistently in the first half, it wasn’t able to find the back of the net until Mateo Centenera converted a penalty kick in the 26th minute. The rest of the first 40 minutes, Scorpions goalie James Schryver did a masterful job of fending off the Chargers.
“I was just thinking I’ve got to get that goal in the back of the net to put us up 1-0. Because we were definitely dominating, easily,” Centenera said. “I just needed to get that in there.”
Things picked up for Academy in the second half against Schryver, beginning when Centenera scored on a cross from Trevor Dean in the 51st minute for a 2-0 advantage.
“I think we needed that,” Centenera said. “Once we got that second goal, it was over I think.”
While the Scorpions (9-3-2, 6-0 1-5A) adjusted their lineup from that point to feature a more offensive-minded group, they never really threatened the Academy goal. Meanwhile, Academy’s Ryan Sabol in the 63rd minute provided the game’s final margin, and the Chargers could have easily doubled that total. University of New Mexico recruit Nick Williams, in particular, had several near misses throughout the day.
“We weren’t very clinical in the first half finishing our goals,” Kolek said. “Then the second half came and they put a couple more away. They just were a little bit more dangerous and had a little bit more bite about how they put the ball in the back of the net.”
ABQ. ACADEMY 3, FARMINGTON 0
Farmington 0 0 – 0
Academy 1 2 – 3
Scoring: AA, 26th, Mateo Centenera (penalty kick); AA, 51st, Centenera (Trevor Dean); AA, 63rd, Ryan Sabol. Shots on goal: F 0; AA 9. Corner Kicks: F 1; AA 7;. Saves: F 6; AA 1. Rec.: AA 10-4-2; F 9-3-2.