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State boys soccer: Sandia Prep, Hope win, Academy tops Highland

An unwavering wind played no part in one of the biggest plays of a Class 1A-3A semifinal boys soccer game at Sandia Prep on Tuesday, the first day of the state high school tournament in New Mexico.

Sandia Prep sophomore goalie Alex Jeffries stopped two point-blank shots against Santa Fe Prep senior Luke Trevisani early on during the Sundevils’ 2-0 win.

Top-seeded Sandia Prep, the 2018 state champion, will play against No. 3 Bosque for the state title Thursday at 2 p.m. at UNM Soccer Complex. The teams split in their matchups this season, with Bosque winning at Sandia Prep, 1-0, and the Sundevils winning at Bosque, 4-0.

Sandia Prep was called for a hand-ball that set up Santa Fe Prep about 5 yards from the goal for the penalty. Jeffries stopped that shot and Trevisani’s second shot after the rebound.

Trevisani is the son of Peter Trevisani, the president and CEO of New Mexico United.

“That right there was huge,” Sandia Prep coach Tommy Smith said of the save that helped the Sundevils (9-1-1) post their fourth shutout of the season. “If they score there, who knows if they get an advantage and change the game.”

On the other end of the field, Santa Fe Prep goalie Xander Hnasko had 13 saves, nine in the second half. Santa Fe Prep coach Hersch Wilson said it was Hnasko’s best game of the season.

Against Santa Fe Prep, Smith chose to go against the wind in the first half with the hopes the Sundevils could sneak in a goal and then take control with the wind in the second half. The strategy worked, thanks to Jeffries and Eric Presura, who finished an assist from Finnegan Saunders in the 29th minute.

Presura, one of two seniors on the team, leads Sandia Prep with 15 goals.

Dane Gallegos, one of 12 sophomores for Sandia Prep, scored a sensational goal in the 66h minute. Saunders assisted again.

Gallegos is also with New Mexico United Academy, but training was canceled on Tuesday. Smith is hopeful Gallegos can play in the final.

— Steve Virgen

SANDIA PREP 2, SANTA FE PREP 0

At Sandia Prep

Santa Fe Prep 0 0 — 0

Sandia Prep 1 1 — 1

Scoring: Sandia Prep, 29th, Eric Presura (Finnegan Saunders); 66th, Dane Gallegos (Saunders). Corner kicks: Santa Fe Prep 2, Sandia Prep 7. Saves: Santa Fe Prep 13 (Xander Hnasko), Sandia Prep 3 (Alex Jeffries). Records: Santa Fe Prep 5-4-0, Sandia Prep 9-1-1.

Class 5A

No. 4 ALBUQUERQUE HIGH 5, No. 5 FARMINGTON 0: At AHS, the final home game in the Bulldog coaching career of Lucien Starzynski went like so many before, as Albuquerque High (6-0) knocked off the Scorpions (8-2-1) in the quarterfinals.

AHS will visit No. 1 seed Hobbs on Thursday in the semis; the Bulldogs beat the Eagles in the 2019 state championship game. Hobbs edged Centennial 1-0 on Tuesday.

“It’ll be fun,” Starzynski said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

There are few regulars left for AHS off that 2019 team, although you’d never know it as the Bulldogs generated a dozen quality scoring chances Tuesday.

To that end, Albuquerque High scored twice in the game’s first eight minutes.

Nico Hernandez finished Dylan Castillo’s nifty cross in the fifth minute to open the scoring. Three minutes later, Bennett Zollner, from in front of the AHS bench, sent a long through ball into Farmington’s half. Teammate Luke Gannon ran onto it, and he had a relatively unabated path toward the net, and scored easily for a 2-0 edge.

“During the warm-up, we talk about what we want to do,” said Hernandez. “The most important thing for us is the first five minutes.”

Said Starzynski, “We were good in the first half and we did set the tone early.”

Farmington goalkeeper Kayden Gonzales did extremely well to keep the score at 2-0 by halftime, as the Bulldogs had several other excellent looks that Gonzales either saved in net, or prevented by cutting down a scoring angle before the play fully developed.

“We realized we were playing a high line,” Gannon said. “We trying to get behind it.”

Gannon said the Bulldogs are beginning to find their form.

“We started off slow, but now we’re getting in our groove, trying to work out who goes where,” he said. “As soon as we got to our second and third game, we started to figure things out and put the pieces together.”

In the second half, a 43rd-minute goal from Hernandez upped the AHS lead to 3-0, and the Bulldogs added two more goals in the final three minutes, from Javen Hernandez and another from Gannon.

— James Yodice

No. 2 LA CUEVA 6, No. 7 RIO GRANDE 1: At the APS Soccer Complex, La Cueva got what it needed early in the second half, when Rio Grande tied the game at 1-1.

“I told them when you allow a team to stay in a game, a scrappy team, then you’re going to have a fight on your hands,” said Bears coach E.Z. Jimenez. “And as soon as they scored, I was like, OK, here we go. I’ve seen it too many times.”

Instead, “it was a big-time wakeup call,” he said.

The Bears (6-0) reeled off five straight goals, including three in a 12-minute span immediately following the seventh-seeded Ravens’ (4-2) score to send La Cueva to meet sixth-seeded Rio Rancho in Thursday‘s semifinals.

Pablo Sanchez, who scored twice, got the Bears on the board in the seventh minute on an assist from Mason Baroni.

Then when Rio Grande’s Carlos Martinez was fouled just outside the penalty area four minutes into the second half, the Ravens took advantage.

Adrian Arreloa’s shot caromed off the wall, but it went to Joel Hernandez, who was able to finish through traffic.

Then at that point, “everything started clicking,” said Bears defender Koby Hendzel. “We were keeping it on the ground, and we started swinging it through the back, too. Not everything was forward. We were possessing it and playing much better.”

John Mee put the Bears ahead to stay in the 48th minute after he settled Mikah Madrid’s corner kick off the chest, then fired it in from about 15 yards out.

Five minutes later, Madrid got another assist when Hendzel put away another corner kick. Even goalkeeper Evan Moedl got in on the action, punting one that got up into the wind and bounced over Ravens goalkeeper Steven Hernandez and in.

“It was pretty crazy out there. It was chaos to say the least,” Hendzel said of the wind conditions. “We just need to keep playing like we did in the second half.”

ALSO TUESDAY: The Rams, on the road in Las Cruces, defeated No. 3 Mayfield 2-0.

Class 4A

No. 4 HOPE CHRISTIAN 1, No. 5 SANTA TERESA 1 (Huskies advance 4-3 in PKs): The survival of Hope Christian’s 2021 campaign came down to the mettle of a middle schooler.

Fortunately for the Huskies, eighth-grade goalkeeper Cody Guggino delivered with the season on the line, allowing Hope to advance to the semifinals with a home shootout victory over the Desert Warriors on Tuesday.

Hope Christian (8-1-1) will play at top-seeded Lovington on Thursday. The Wildcats blanked Kirtland Central 5-0 in the quarterfinals.

Tuesday’s quarterfinal at Hope was tied a 1-1 after regulation and two overtime periods. But Guggino denied the Desert Warriors’ Adan Soto at the net on Santa Teresa’s second try in the shootout, and then watched Beckam Pichardo launch his team’s final hope over the crossbar as the Huskies prevailed in penalties.

“Cody stepped up really big,” said Huskies coach Steve Kokulis. “He did a fantastic job as he has all season. We’re thrilled for him to get some of these games under his belt like he has this year, and he’s done well for us. A lot of maturing over the course of the season for an eighth grader.”

Travel issues for Santa Teresa (6-1-2) delayed the start of the matchup by approximately 45 minutes, and it took the Desert Warriors longer than that to get rolling. Hope Christian spent most of the first half on Santa Teresa’s end of the field and struck first on a direct kick by Joseph Friederich in the 23rd minute. Santa Teresa racheted up the intensity from there, however, and pressured the Huskies effectively for the rest of the way.

“We just had a hard time really getting hold of the ball and (connecting) more than a couple passes at a time,” Kokulis said. “They really disrupted play well. We couldn’t get any kind of rhythm going.”

It looked like the single goal would hold up until Soto converted a penalty kick in the 67th minute for the Desert Warriors.

From there, a stalemate ensued until the shootout. For Hope, the first four players to shoot — Sean McGuirk, Friederich, Tony Burgarello and Brenden McMurry — were all successful.

“It wasn’t a very clean performance on our part. Definitely stressful,” Kokulis said. “We’re glad to get out with a win, but it’s unfortunate when it goes down to penalty kicks because somebody always feels responsible. That’s a tough way to win, and it’s a tough way to lose. This would’ve been a good game to keep both these teams playing.”

ALSO TUESDAY: No. 6 seed Albuquerque Academy defeated third-seeded Highland 2-0, as the Chargers advanced into an unexpected home game Thursday in the semifinals against old rival Los Alamos. The seventh-seeded Hilltoppers upset No. 2 Taos 2-1 on Tuesday in the quarters.

— Tristen Critchfield

NO. 4 HOPE CHRISTIAN 1, NO. 5 SANTA TERESA 1 (Hope won 4-3 on penalty kicks)

Santa Teresa 0  1  0  0—1

Hope 1  0  0  0—1

Scoring: H, 23rd, Joseph Friederich; ST, 67th, Adan Soto (penalty kick). Saves: ST, Raul Chavez 3, H, Cody Guggino 3. Rec.: H 8-1-1, ST 6-1-2.

Albuquerque Academy Danny Ross, left and Highland High School ‘s Luis Rodriguez battle for possession during the 4A boys soccer game played at Highland . The Chargers prevailed 2-0 . (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

NO. 6 ABQ. ACADEMY 2, NO. 3 HIGHLAND 0: At Highland, Oliver Kumar’s breakaway goal gave the Chargers an edge, and stout midfield defense made it stand up for a win over the Hornets.

Kumar took a lead pass from Neven Zapatka and managed to beat Highland goalkeeper Daniel Ortega in a one-on-one situation in the 23rd minute. It was the only goal until the final two minutes, as Highland struggled to create scoring chances for most of the evening.

“We did a quality job at the midfield,” Academy coach Laney Kolek said. “We knew Highland was scrappy and disciplined in their attack, so we wanted to put as much pressure on them as possible. That’s really what set up our first goal.”

Kumar had another one-on-one opportunity early in the second half, but Ortega made a nice diving play to deny him and keep the score 1-0.

The Hornets (5-1) then put together a brief surge of offense. Luis Martinez sent a long blast just over the crossbar, and Academy goalie Zach Sena followed with scrambling stops on shots by Diego Ayala and Placido Cordova.

Highland High School’s Luis Martinez,left, is defended by Albuquerque Academy Jude Logan during the 4A boys soccer game played at Highland . The Chargers prevailed 2-0 . (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

But Academy’s defense allowed no legitimate scoring chances over the final 12 minutes, and the Chargers finally put things away on Case Manifold’s low rocket into the net in the 78th minute.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way our guys played,” Kolek said. “They played with some definite bite and that’s what it takes to win in this tournament.”

— Ken Sickenger

ABQ. ACADEMY 2, HIGHLAND 0

At Highland

No. 6 Albuquerque Academy 1 1— 2

No. 3 Highland 0 0 — 0

Scoring: AA, 23rd, Oliver Kumar (Neven Zapatka); AA, 78th, Case Manifold (Evan Chang). Shots: AA 8, H 2. Corner kicks: AA 4, H 2. Saves: H 6 (Daniel Ortega)l AA 2 (Zach Sena). Records: AA 8-2, H 5-1.

Class 5A boys bracket

Class 4A boys bracket

Class 1A-3A boys bracket

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