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Girls soccer: Volcano Vista knocks off No. 1 Cibola

Volcano Vista’s Hailey Briceno (5) and teammate Lauren Machuca (18) sandwich Cibola’s Ashley Padilla (11) as they battle for the ball in the Hawks 1-0 win over the Cibola Cougars.

The words coming out of coach Samantha Lucero’s mouth sounded at odds with the stellar résumé of her team.

“We needed that,” Lucero said.

Needed? The No. 3-ranked girls soccer team in New Mexico?

Even as visiting Volcano Vista was basking in the glow of its tense 1-0 victory over No. 1-ranked and previously undefeated Cibola on Wednesday afternoon, the Hawks couldn’t help but admit that this result was, they said, needed.

“I feel like we did (need it),” said senior forward Natalia Bruciaga, whose goal in the 53rd minute was the difference for Volcano Vista. “I think just from the last time we played them, this was a big thing for us. We needed it to prove we are up there.”

Cibola had beaten the Hawks by this same 1-0 count in pool play at the metro tournament in late August.

Payback was sweet, especially on Cibola’s field.

“Awesome,” Bruciaga said, barely containing a smile. “I loved it.”

Volcano Vista (12-2 overall) completed a 4-0 run through the first half of its district slate, and that’s no small thing in this league, with the top four teams ranked in the top 10, including the previously perfect Cougars (13-1, 3-1).

It was Bruciaga, one of three Hawks who soon will be signing their national letters of intent with the University of New Mexico, who supplied the game’s most timely play on Cibola’s new pitch.

Teammate Gabriella Montoya’s free kick came deep into the box, and after a moment of rattling around, Bruciaga pounced, getting enough of a touch from 6-yard line to break a scoreless tie.

“It’s really good to go into the next round (of district) being undefeated,” Lucero said. “Obviously, we’ll have a target on our back, but this group, they’re so good, and they want it so badly, so I’m excited to see what they’ll do.”

And on the other side, it very nearly sounded like maybe Cibola got what it needed, too.

“During practice, we’ve been off our game,” said Cougars senior forward Sydni Burrup, who will be signing with Gonzaga. “Not really focused. And we practice how we play. We weren’t ready for Volcano. We’ve been playing it easy. We got what was needed.”

But Burrup said the timing was not at all harmful to Cibola.

“I definitely think this is good,” she said, adding. “We definitely have had way better games than this. We were just off our game today.”

The teams meet again at Volcano Vista on Oct. 26.

“I’ve got a great squad,” Lucero said. “We can only go up from here.”

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