Sydni Burrup of Cibola, Eliza Mariner of Albuquerque Academy and Gabriel Legendre of Cleveland had multi-goal semifinal efforts Wednesday night, carrying their teams into the Friday night finals of the Albuquerque Metro Championships at the APS Complex.
Cibola’s girls decisively blanked La Cueva, while the Chargers shut out Eldorado. Cleveland’s boys stomped rival Rio Rancho, while La Cueva, on a set-piece header by James Zanios, edged Albuquerque High.
The Storm boys and La Cueva meet at 6:45 p.m. Friday. Cibola’s girls take on Academy at 7:15 p.m.
LA CUEVA 1, ALBUQUERQUE HIGH 0: Zanios perfectly redirected a corner kick from Steven Lee in the 67th minute on a terrific set piece that the Bears (4-0) had been practicing frequently of late.
Lee’s corner was a low drive. Zanios, operating at the near post, had the ball practically skim off the front of his skull as it sailed past AHS goalkeeper Jose Sevilla.
“Just what I wanted to do,” Lee said. “On that one, I just wanted to strike it and put more curve on it.”
“I saw the ball coming towards me,” Zanios chipped in. “I just stepped back and let it hit my forehead.”
The last time these schools met, the Bulldogs (2-2) won in last November’s Class 6A state final.
CLEVELAND 5, RIO RANCHO 0: Legendre, a junior, had four goals, and his younger brother Nick, a freshman, had the fifth as Cleveland (6-0) swarmed the previously undefeated Rams (5-1).
“We went out and played hard, and when we work together as a team, we can do anything,” said Legendre, who has 10 goals this season.
The Rams had surrendered only three goals in their five victories.
CIBOLA 3, LA CUEVA 0: The Bears (3-1) suffered their most lopsided loss in more than three years as the Cougars (4-0) advanced.
Burrup had the first and third goals for Cibola. The first goal, the eventual game-winner, saw Burrup shake a pair of defenders and drive a left-footed shot into the right-hand corner for a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute. With her second goal, just before the end of the second half, she has six tallies on the year.
“We’re doing good,” Burrup said. “We have some good incoming freshmen and we’re wanting to win state. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
ALBUQUERQUE ACADEMY 2, ELDORADO 0: Mariner, a senior who will play at the next level for Cornell, had both goals for the Chargers (4-0), the 101st and 102nd of her career. She reached the 100-goal plateau last week.
“For me,” Mariner said, “it was not only a huge personal milestone, but it’s about my team, too. A bunch of those goals are from beautiful assists.”
She scored on a rebound goal in the 32nd minute, and added an insurance goal in the 65th after a through ball from freshman Sara Morneau.
Academy has won each game by shutout.