Senior forward Geneviene Gray’s 31st goal of the season, a beautifully placed — if somewhat accidental — shot from just inside the 18-yard box in the 76th minute was the difference for No. 2-ranked Bosque School on Thursday afternoon as the visiting Bobcats beat No. 3 Sandia Prep 2-1 in a first-place showdown in District 5-1A/4A.
Bosque (13-4-2 overall) improved to 6-1 in district and overtook the Sundevils (11-7, 5-1) for first place in that league.
It had been 23 months since Sandia Prep last dropped a game to a school in its own classification.
“In years gone by,” Bosque coach Jacob Cortez said, “we haven’t had the athletes. This year, we have the athletes to play with them.”
The Bobcats are a team with only two seniors.
Gray, who has been a varsity athlete for five seasons, is one of the two. The game-winner developed unexpectedly, she said. It wasn’t even supposed to be a shot, she added.
“It all happened in a blur,” said Gray, who scored more than 50 goals as a junior and who plans to sign with Division III Pomona (Calif.) College in February. “I was trying to get a cross in, but the way I hit it, it just curved into the net.”
Kyera Hausenfleck-Chavez, in the 16th minute for Bosque School, and Skyler Gee, in the 21st minute for Sandia Prep, had the first-half goals in this game.
Gray was under close scruitiny from the Sundevils, as she is most every game.
“They man-marked her both games,” Cortez said, a reference to the schools’ first district meeting at Bosque, a 1-0 triumph for the Sundevils. “And she still managed to get loose. We’re confident that not one girl is able to catch her.”
Despite Thursday’s victory, the chances are high that Bosque and Sandia Prep will finish in a two-way tie for first place in the district. The Bobcats play Santa Fe Indian on Tuesday; the Sundevils face East Mountain on Tuesday and SFIS on Friday, both on the road.
Probably, goal differential against the other three teams in the district, which also includes Bernalillo, will become the deciding factor.
Thursday was Sandia Prep’s final regular-season home game, and Bosque was sure to spoil senior day for the Sundevils.
“They’ve got to get some grit in their teeth and some dirt under their nails now,” Sandia Prep coach Gina Cormier said.
Also Thursday, Cleveland’s girls belted Cibola 4-0, as the Storm (16-1 overall, 5-1 in District 1-6A) remained tied for first place in the district.
Volcano Vista (12-4, 5-1) downed Rio Rancho 3-1 on Thursday.
The Hawks and Storm close the regular season against each other a week from Saturday at Volcano Vista.
BOYS: St. Pius’ 3-0 win Thursday over Los Lunas clinched the District 5-5A championship for the Sartans (10-3-4, 7-0).
In 1-6A, Cleveland downed Cibola 3-1 and Rio Rancho blanked Volcano Vista 2-0, as the Storm and Rams remain deadlocked for first place with 4-1-1 records. Both have two games remaining in the league.
The state tournament brackets will be announced in all classes a week from Sunday.