(Editor’s note: This story has been amended to reflect that Eldorado, as a No. 8 seed, won the 2009 large-school state title.)
(Click here for the 5A girls bracket.)
Host Albuquerque High advanced past the first round of the state girls’ soccer playoffs for the first time in three seasons winning its first playoff game since 2015 upending 11th-seeded Farmington, 3-1, on Saturday.
The sixth-seeded Bulldogs (13-4-1) advance to Wednesday‘s 5A state quarterfinal against Cleveland, a club that beat Albuquerque High 1-0 in early September.
“(Cleveland) plays a very similar style to us,” said Albuquerque High coach Natasha Lee. “They are quick and big, so we have our training ahead of us. This (tournament) is a marathon, but it’s a fast marathon.”
Farmington (12-8), whose seven previous losses were all by a single goal – three in overtime – caught the host Bulldogs on their heels early. Felicia Moseley received a crossing pass from leading scoring Mackenzie Coleman, turned, and fired a long-range shot from 20 yards out into the upper-right corner just 13 minutes in.
Just 10 minutes later, some quick thinking – and accurate shooting – allowed Albuquerque to tie the game.
After a Farmington foul just outside the 18-yard box, Gabriela Meraz-Fishbein placed the ball down on the ground for a direct kick. Before Farmington could line up a protective two- or three-person wall, Meraz-Fishbein placed her free kick into the left corner of the net.
“My teammate told me, ‘Gabby, you can hit it.’ We were practicing free kicks yesterday, so I just went for it,” Meraz -Fishbein said. “”I feel like after that goal, we had more momentum and more energy as a team going forward.”
Contrary to any notion that her team came out flat, Lee said her club was fully aware of Farmington’s explosive front line.
“We knew how to be prepared for this game and knew they had extremely fast forwards, and yes, (Farmington’s forwards) do know how to turn quickly, and shoot on goal very well,” Lee said. “We knew we couldn’t allow them to take those shots…I guess our defense was a little taken aback by the quickness of them, but we were able to make some changes in order to be successful in the back.”
Six minutes after the tying goal, Albuquerque’s Natalia Sanchez gave her club the lead for good after a feed up the right sideline from Zaria Katesigwa.
Less than six minutes into the second half, Meraz-Fishbein tallied her second goal of the game following a deflection giving her club a two-goal cushion.
“Usually, we come out a little slower in the second half,” Lee said. “We decided that today was not the day to come out slow. … We needed that 3-1 comfort zone.”
— Patrick Newell
No. 6 ALBUQUERQUE HIGH 3, No. 11 FARMINGTON 1
Farmington 1 0 – 1
Abq. High 2 1 – 3
Scoring: F, 13th, Felicia Moseley (Mackenzie Coleman); A, 23rd, Gabriela Meraz-Fishbein (unassisted); A, 29th, Natalia Sanchez (Zaria Katesigwa); A, 46th, Meraz-Fishbein (unassisted). Shots on goal: A 19; F 12. Cornerkicks: A 5; F 2. Saves: A Joanna Finley 7; F Chyna Walters 7, Jessi Curry 6. Records: A 13-4-1; F 12-8.
Volcano Vista wasn’t about to let a little inclement weather ruin its day.
The fifth-seeded Hawks (14-4-1) struck for two goals within the first 15 minutes and made that hold up the rest of the way in a 2-0 triumph over No. 12 Carlsbad (11-7-3) in a girls Class 5A opening round matchup at blustery Volcano Vista on Saturday. The Hawks will move on to face No. 4 Cibola in the quarterfinals of the tournament at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex on Wednesday at noon.
“The weather was pretty terrible, but I like that we fought through that. We played a great game,” said Hawks coach Samantha Lucero. “The last game we played (on our home field) against Cleveland (Oct. 26), the weather kind of got the best of us. We didn’t even care about it and we just put the ball in the back of the net.”
Arianna Cisneros got the Hawks on the board in a hurry when she lofted a high shot from outside the box over the outstretched arms of Carlsbad’s Patti Oliver in the fifth minute. What would have been an impressive goal in any condition took on an added degree of difficulty in the wind.
“(The wind) was playing a lot of tricks in the air, especially on shots and long balls. It was pulling our balls closer to where the wind was blowing. It was a little tough, but we were able to adjust to it pretty well,” Cisneros said.
“I just saw it go up and it was sailing and sailing. The wind obviously caught it. I saw her (Oliver) kind of hesitate, and it just dropped perfectly in. It was kind of a 50-50 ball, just the way I hit it. I was glad to see it went in in the end.”
Shortly thereafter, Savannah Gutierrez found Natalia Bruciaga with a nifty pass from the left corner, and Bruciaga scored from close range for a 2-0 Hawks lead at the 13th minute.
While it didn’t score again, Volcano Vista controlled possession the rest of the way, outshooting Carlsbad by a 14-to-3 margin.
“With the wind we had to put some goals away quickly, so that was our plan,” Lucero said. “When we got the two in the back of the net, we just had to focus on making sure we played defense.”
The Hawks split two games with District 1-5A rival Cibola during the regular season. Both meetings were decided by one goal.
“We’re ready and excited to see them,” Lucero said.
— Tristen Critchfield
NO. 5 VOLCANO VISTA 2, NO. 12 CARLSBAD 0
Carlsbad 0 0—0
Volcano Vista 2 0—2
Scoring: VV, 5th, Arianna Cisneros; VV, 13th, Natalia Bruciaga (Savannah Gutierrez). Shots: C 3, VV 14. Saves: C, Patti Oliver 11; V, Alex Peralta 3. Rec.: VV 14-4-1, C 11-7-3.
No. 7 ELDORADO 1, No. 10 CLOVIS 0 (2 OTs): Saturday’s windy conditions at the APS Soccer Complex were hardly ideal for first-round girls state tournament games, but Angel Vargas found a silver lining.
The Eldorado freshman lofted a high 30-yard shot into the breeze and into the net to lift the Eagles over Clovis. Vargas’ dramatic goal came with less than a minute left in the second extra period and with the ever-uncertain prospect of a shootout looming.
What was Vargas hoping for when she took a pass from teammate Emma Gevelhoff on the left wing?
“A tailwind,” Vargas said with a smile. “It seemed like we had a lot of chances but just weren’t able to score. I really wanted to finish the game. When I saw it get over the keeper, my whole body just flooded with joy.”
The Eagles (13-6-0) had more opportunities than (14-4-1) but could not solve Wildcats goalkeeper Hannah Nussbaumer and at times seemed reluctant to shoot. Clovis also had its chances, including a two-on-one attack late in the first overtime that Neveah Coronado fired just over the crossbar.
“Give Clovis credit,” Eagles coach Andrew Wiese said. “They were well-organized, played really hard and got really good goalkeeping today. I’m just proud of our players because they never stopped fighting.”
Eldorado, which had just one substitute on its bench due to injuries, got a strong performance in goal from Darya Mosallaei and earned a quarterfinal meeting against second-seeded Sandia on Thursday.
“Oddly enough we haven’t played Sandia this year,” Wiese said, “but we know what kind of team they are. We expect to have our hands full.”
ELDORADO 1, CLOVIS 0 (2OT)
Clovis 0 0 0 0—0
Eldorado 0 0 0 1—1
Scoring: E, 99th, Angel Vargas (Emma Gevelhoff). Goalkeepers: E (Darya Mosallaei), C (Hannah Nussbaumer). Stat totals unavailable.
Records: E 13-6-0, C 14-4-1
No. 8 LA CUEVA 2, No. 9 HOBBS 0: At the APS Complex, Taryn Robles cashed in Sophia Beames’ well-placed corner kick in the 18th minute and the Bears (16-2-1) fought off the Eagles (12-5-2).
Robles was in position when Beames lofted her kick just over Hobbs goalkeeper Jasmine Martinez in front of the net. Robles’ goal accounted for the only scoring until Jordyn Maes converted on a pass from Hannah Duffy in the 79th minute to seal the outcome.
In between, the Eagles gave La Cueva all it wanted. The Eagles had a pair of prime chances late in the second half but could not get the ball past Bears goalie Emma Moore.
“Hobbs played a really good game today,” La Cueva coach Amber Ashcraft said. “They improved a lot since the first time we saw them (a 4-0 Bears win early in the season). The wind was not nice today, but winning a tough game like that is good for us.”
Ashcraft said her team is playing up the fact that it came into the tournament as a No. 8 seed despite a No. 1 ranking in the 5A coaches’ poll. The Bears will take on unbeaten No. 1 seed Centennial in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Ashcraft went on to say that “no eight seed has ever won a state title,” but a records check indicates that at least one did — Eldorado in 2009.
Nonetheless, “I’d say it’s going to be a really good quarterfinal when we play Centennial,” she added.
— Ken Sickenger
LA CUEVA 2, HOBBS 0
Hobbs 0 0—0
La Cueva 1 1—2
Scoring: LC, 18th, Taryn Robles (Sophia Beames); LC, 79th, Jordyn Maes (Hannah Duffy).
Shots: LC 10, H 7. Corner kicks; LC 7, H 1. Saves: LC 3 (Emma Moore); H 7 (Jasmine Martinez. Records: LC 16-2-1, H 12-5-2.
ALSO SATURDAY: Del Norte’s girls won 5-2 at home over Moriarty in the Class 4A first round — the Knights’ first state tournament win in eight years. With Moriarty pressing the action, Del Norte freshman Julianna Nicolary supplied the key goal for the Knights in the 59th minute, putting eighth-seeded Del Norte (11-8) ahead 3-1. After the second of Ashley Strader’s two goals for the Pintos (10-10) to pull No. 9 seed Moriarty within a goal, junior midfielder Ashton Reyes of the Knights added two late insurance goals as Del Norte moves on to play No. 1 seed Albuquerque Academy in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round. … Los Lunas’ girls, seeded No. 10 in 4A, fell 1-0 at No. 7 Artesia. Sixth-seeded Goddard and fifth-seeded Aztec also advanced to the 4A quarterfinals. … The metro area’s only team in the 1A-3A bracket that played Saturday, No. 8 East Mountain, was upset 2-0 by visiting Robertson. No. 7 Navajo Prep, No. 5 Santa Fe Prep and No. 6 St. Michael’s all advanced with one-sided victories.
(Click here for the 1A-3A girls bracket.)
(Click here for the 4A girls bracket.)