SANTA ANA PUEBLO —Three was the magic number for Albuquerque Academy on Friday in the Class 4A girls state soccer championship.
The top-seeded Chargers won their third straight blue trophy as midfielder Anna Carpio led the way with three goals in a 4-1 win over Hope Christian.
“It’s crazy,” Carpio said about her hat trick. “It’s my last soccer game completely and there’s no better way to end the season. Three goals, three state championships. My last game. It just feels amazing. I just want to thank everyone around me just for supporting me.”
Academy (21-2) handed the Huskies (18-3-2) their only losses, the first two coming in District 6-4A play, including one in overtime.
And those games helped set the stage for this victory, Chargers coach Peter Glidden said.
“I think we learned in our previous games against them that they have a lot of speed,” he said of Hope. “They’re a really dynamic team on the wing. So we knew we had to keep possession, and we had to negate that opportunity for them.”
So the game plan was to push forwards Tessa Anderson and Eliza Mariner to the outside.
“We learned more than anything that if we were able to play our game and keep the ball down and get it wide to Tessa and Eliza, that would open up things for Carpio,” Glidden said. “And she just had a field day. She had a lot of space and she took advantage of her opportunities. A hat trick in the state championship game is pretty special.”
Both sides generated early offense, but it wasn’t until Mariner put one away in the 26th minute following a scramble off a corner kick that Academy really began to take advantage.
First, however, the Chargers needed a nice save off the line from defender Courtney Lohmeier to preserve the advantage.
Then Carpio went to work. In the 35th minute, Anderson fed her a ball that she was able to put cleanly away. Then she added another one in the 51st minute when Mariner slid a perfect through-ball that Carpio knocked in.
In the 63rd minute, tough-angle shot caromed off the cross bar right to Carpio for the easy blast.
“They were our hardest competition this entire season, and we knew they were an equal match to us,” Carpio said of the Huskies. “So I think what happened, our team came with the right mentality and we knew we wanted this game. And we weren’t going to think about anything else except finishing this game and that really helped us out.”
Academy was helped out by the play of sophomore goalkeeper Lorelei Logan, as well, who had four saves and recovered from what could have been a lingering mistake in the semifinals against Los Alamos. In that game, she mis-hit an attempt to clear a ball and instead fed it to an opponent, leading to an easy Hilltopper goal.
“She came out with a great attitude (Friday),” Glidden said. “She pushed everything aside from (Thursday). She’s been amazing all season. Made big save after big save. She kept us in the game (Friday). She even kept us in the game yesterday through the small error. And she’s just such a resilient kid. For a sophomore to come up that big in a huge state championship game is awesome.”
“I think we stayed really strong and we didn’t let them get any momentum, then we put the last couple away and ended the game,” Logan said.
The only blemish from the Chargers’ perspective came in the 70th minute when Hope’s Kyra Stafford lofted a pinpoint shot from about 30 yards out that Logan had no chance to reach.
“It’s more joyful every year,” Glidden said of the three-peat. “It’s incredible and this year I feel like we really got to enjoy it. We’ve had overtime games and 1-0 games in the past. It’s just amazing for this group of seniors to go out like this with a strong win against a really good Hope team. It’s an awesome feeling.”
No. 1 ALBUQUERQUE ACADEMY 4, No. 2 HOPE CHRISTIAN 1
Hope Christian 0 1- -1
Albuquerque Academy 2 2- -4
Scoring: AA, 26th, Eliza Mariner (unassisted); AA, 35th, Anna Carpio, (Tessa Anderson); AA, 51st, Carpio (Mariner); AA, 63rd, Carpio (unassisted); HC, 70th, Kyra Stafford (unassisted). Shots on goal: HC 5; AA 15. Corner kicks: HC 2; AA 2. Saves: HC, Cassi Wright 11; AA, Lorelei Logan 4 (one team save). Rec.: AA 21-2; HC 18-3-2.