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Class 5A girls soccer: Volcano Vista shuts out another foe in state final

Volcano Vista’s #3 Arianna Cisneros (3) gets a hug from teammate Natalia Bruciaga as she holds the championship trophy after beating Centennial. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA ANA PUEBLO — Dynamic, stingy, dominant — and now, state champions.

New Mexico’s top-ranked girls soccer team closed out a sparkling postseason on a pristine Friday afternoon. Volcano Vista shut out No. 6 Centennial 2-0 in the Class 5A title game at the soccer complex.

It is the Hawks’ first blue trophy since 2010.

“I knew at the beginning of the year that it would be this team that would bring it back home,” Volcano Vista coach Samantha Lucero said.

Dalis Bruce’s goal off Gabby Montoya’s perfectly placed corner kick in the 11th minute staked Volcano Vista to an early lead for the third straight day.

“I don’t have any words,” said Bruce, who knocked home the corner with her right shin past Centennial goalkeeper Rylee Thatcher from about 5 yards. “It’s what we’ve been working towards this whole year. We deserved it. … We deserved it.”

For her part, Montoya proved to be one of this team’s most invaluable centerpieces during a 19-2 season.

“She’s amazing,” Bruce said. “It’s crazy.”

About Montoya’s only miscue Friday was sending a penalty kick over the crossbar in the early stages of the second half of what was still a 1-0 game.

But it proved not to matter.

“Getting a goal early is extremely important,” said Montoya. “We are so strong in the back, and it (takes) stress off of our forwards as well. It was a great way to start the game.”

Centennial (20-2-2) probably had its best opportunity to score soon after Bruce’s tally.

Kayla Reynaud, who hammered home a direct kick for a goal Thursday in the semifinals against Cibola, had another terrific-looking look Friday. But her right-footed shot from 35 yards out sailed just over the crossbar in the 13th minute.

Fittingly, Volcano Vista won without yielding a goal. There were only six goals scored on them all season, and none this week. Those six goals came in three games, including its two losses.

“It’s a feeling nobody can really explain,” Montoya said. “I’m amazed with how our team did this year.”

Volcano Vista won 18 games by shutout, including its last eight.

“Soon as the final whistle blew, all these emotions flowed into all of us,” Bruce said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Like so many of Volcano Vista’s victories, the stout back line eased the burden on sophomore goalkeeper Alex Peralta. She didn’t have to make a single demanding save over 80 minutes on Friday.

Not that any insurance was needed, but sophomore Lauren Machuca added such a goal in the 76th minute. Her header from 10 yards out, off a terrific centering pass from Savannah Gutierrez, squeezed inside the far post.

“We’re all gifted players,” Machuca said. “Very talented. When you put us all together and we work together, it’s a great thing.”

For Centennial, which was down two injured starters Friday and beat the No. 2 and 3 seeds (Cibola and La Cueva) this week, the loss snapped a 15-game winning streak. Centennial was the first non-metro school to appear in a big-school girls final in 13 years.

“The reality is, no one gave us a chance,” Centennial coach Alex Reyes said. “I thought we gave them a good game, and everything they could handle.”

VOLCANO VISTA 2, CENTENNIAL 0

Centennial 0 0—0

Volcano Vista 1 1—2

Scoring: VV 13th minute, Dalis Bruce (Gabby Montoya); VV, 76th, Lauren Machuca (Savannah Gutierrez). Shots: C 5, VV 9. Saves: C Rylee Thatcher 8; VV Alex Peralta 5. Corner kicks: C 2, VV 9. Records: C 20-2-2, VV 19-2.

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