SANTA ANA PUEBLO — A remarkable 13-year drought could be nearing an end.
The quarterfinals of the Class 5A girls state soccer tournament saw the top two seeds, Volcano Vista and Cibola, advance with victories Wednesday on a rainy, gray day at the complex on the Santa Ana Pueblo.
Those district rivals were joined by a pair of southern district champions, Carlsbad and Centennial.
In Thursday’s 11:30 a.m. semifinals, the Cavegirls meet Volcano Vista while Cibola takes on Centennial. Not since 2006 has a school from outside the metro area advanced to a big-school girls state soccer final.
No. 5 CARLSBAD 1, No. 4 ALBUQUERQUE HIGH 0: This game was headed to overtime until sophomore Alexa Dugan’s goal in the 79th minute for the Cavegirls (17-2-3) sent them into the semis, where they get a second chance at Volcano Vista. The Hawks beat Carlsbad 1-0 on a penalty kick in Albuquerque during the regular season.
A defender for AHS (15-3-1) squared up Dugan on the game-winning goal Wednesday. But Dugan darted to her right, then unloaded a shot from about 18 yards out through some traffic.
“I got knocked over,” she said with a smile, “so I don’t remember much.”
But she does recall seeing her ball reach the back of the net as Carlsbad dramatically eliminated the Bulldogs.
Said Cavegirls coach Misty Long on the matchup with Volcano Vista: “Their back line, they’re hard to beat. And they have a couple of special players.”
No. 6 CENTENNIAL 2, No. 3 LA CUEVA 1: The Hawks (19-1-2), who haven’t lost a game since Aug. 24 and have won 14 in a row, earned a bit of retribution against the Bears (15-3-1). Centennial was an unbeaten No. 1 seed a year ago when La Cueva, seeded eighth, took them out in the quarterfinals.
“It felt good,” said junior forward Jennifer Enriquez, who had the first Centennial goal, on a penalty kick in the first half. “We came out and we wanted to get them.”
The elation of Enriquez’s PK didn’t last long, as the Bears tied it up moments later on an own goal by the Hawks.
Senior forward Sarah Rodriguez had the game-winner midway through the second half, firing a shot from about 35 yards out before La Cueva goalkeeper Emma Moore could deflect the ball or shut off the angle. Moore collided with Rodriguez on the play, and Rodriguez suffered a lower-leg injury.
“We’ve worked hard for this, and hopefully we’ve learned from last season,” Centennial coach Alex Reyes said.
No. 1 VOLCANO VISTA 2, No. 8 MAYFIELD 0: Hailey Briceno’s chest-directed goal off a corner kick from Gabriella Montoya just over 10 minutes into the game proved to be the game-winner on a wet, sloppy day.
“Everyone was slipping and sliding, and we were fortunate to get the ball in the back of the net so early,” Hawks coach Samantha Lucero said.
In net, sophomore Alex Peralta made an outstanding one-handed save in the second half to preserve the lead. Volcano Vista (17-2) has won 16 of its 17 games by shutout.
“Alex is a very gifted goalkeeper,” Lucero said. “She is aggressive and very athletic.”
Natalia Bruciaga added the insurance goal for Volcano Vista, in the 78th minute as she got in on a breakaway before finishing off the play, and the Trojans (16-5-1).
No. 2 CIBOLA 5, No. 7 ELDORADO 3: Senior forward Sydni Burrup had a pair of goals, and the Cougars (17-2) overcame a two-goal deficit in the game’s first 20 minutes to overcome and eventually oust the Eagles (11-7-2).
Mercedes Morris, Corinne Whitsell and Burrup had goals to close out the first half for Cibola as it changed momentum. Burrup added a fourth unanswered goal for the Cougars in the opening minutes of the second half.