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APS Puts Eldorado Coach Hirschman on Leave

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One of the state’s top girls soccer teams may be without its head coach for the state tournament.

Eldorado coach Tom Hirschman “has been put on administrative leave by (Albuquerque Public Schools), pending an investigation,” Eagles athletic director Mike Huston told the Journal on Saturday.

Huston would not say why Hirschman was being investigated.

“I can’t say anything about it,” he said.

It is not known how long the investigation will take, Huston added.

Eldorado (13-5) will compete in the coming Class 5A state tournament. The Eagles’ team page at lists Paul Maestas as head coach.

Also, Volcano Vista girls coach Samantha Lucero will miss the Hawks’ first postseason match after she got a red card in the regular-season finale against Cibola on Friday.


Who will be the No. 1 seed in Class 5A boys soccer?

That question will be answered today, and Eldorado seems to be the most logical choice.

Both Eagles coach Walt Witkowski and La Cueva coach Kevin Driggs tend to believe that Eldorado and the Bears will be seeded 1-2 when the New Mexico Activities Association announces the 12-team state tournament fields today.

“I think we should be the No. 1 seed,” Witkowski said. “We’ve proven ourselves against everyone.”

Eldorado won the District 2-5A championship. La Cueva was the 2-5A runner-up.

Volcano Vista coach Billy Thibeaut said the District 1-5A champion Hawks should be in the hunt, too.

“I think we have to be in the conversation for a No. 1,” he said. “We have the best winning percentage in 5A, and the second-hardest strength of schedule.”

The Hawks went a combined 1-2 against Eldorado and La Cueva, however, which is certain to hurt their chances at being the No. 1. And La Cueva beat Volcano Vista 3-0, which could be the thing that puts the Bears ahead of the Hawks.

But both will almost surely be in the top four, and first-round byes come with that.

Nobody in 5A has more wins than 16-4 Las Cruces, the District 3-5A champion, but the Bulldawgs probably won’t be able to escape the fact that they lost head-to-head not just to Eldorado, but Cibola and Oñate, as well.

♦ In 4A, Albuquerque Academy is sure to get a top-two seed. St. Pius could sneak into the top four, but it’s going to be difficult. And Los Lunas, the 6-4A champ, hopes for some seeding love today.

♦ In 1A-3A, three teams from one district, District 4 — Sandia Prep, Hope Christian and Bosque School — could wind up with first-round tournament byes.

GIRLS: It came down to the sixth tiebreaker in District 1-5A, but Cibola emerged Saturday as the league’s regular-season champion.

Rio Rancho’s 2-0 victory Saturday over Cleveland was one goal short of what the Rams needed to claim first place.

Cibola and Rio Rancho both finished 4-2 in district.

The Cougars earned the title in the sixth tiebreaker, which was the least amount of goals allowed in district play. Cibola let in four, the Rams seven.

Had the Rams won 3-0 on Saturday, Rio Rancho would be the 1-5A champion.

“We had it in our hands,” Rio Rancho coach Uwe Balzis said. “We had quite a few chances. We can only blame ourselves.”

Balzis said La Cueva, Cibola, Eldorado and his Rams deserve to be the top four seeds for state.

La Cueva’s status as District 2-5A champion all but cements the Bears as the No. 1 seed.

“Now that we’ve won our district, we should definitely be one of the top four,” Cibola coach Gary Zink said.

Hobbs has a 5A-leading 16 wins, but the Eagles’ soft schedule does them no favors.

♦ In 4A, Los Alamos and Academy should be the top two seeds, and St. Pius has a strong chance at a first-round bye, as well.

♦ Hope Christian and Sandia Prep should receive top-four bids today in Class 1A-3A.
— This article appeared on page D5 of the Albuquerque Journal