It was a banner day for the homesteading Sandia Prep boys and girls soccer teams Tuesday as both advanced to Thursday’s Class 1-3A state championship games at the University of New Mexico Soccer and Track Complex.
The Prep boys beat Bosque 1-0 and advance to Thursday’s 3 p.m. 1A-3A boys final against New Mexico Military Institute, a 2-0 winner over Santa Fe Prep.
The Prep girls beat Robertson 4-0 and play in Thursday’s 5:30 p.m. 1A-4A girls final against St. Michael’s, a 4-2 winner over Socorro.
No. 1 SANDIA PREP 1, No. 4 BOSQUE 0: In a tough defensive battle played primarily in the Bobcats’ end, they employed a bend, bend, bend and don’t break philosophy. And for three-quarters of the match, it worked.
But the Sundevils (20-2), who played most of the game without leading scorer Finnegan Saunders because of a bad ankle, slipped him in late — and he proved to be a perfect lure.
“I was hoping not to use him, but he was kind of a decoy the last 15 minutes,” Sandia Prep coach Tommy Smith said.
Meanwhile, Bosque (13-6-2) was shutting down dangerous Sundevils forward Leighton Dellabarca, as well.
“They did a great job on Leighton,” Smith said. “They had him double-, triple- teamed. Had him going away from the goal instead of at the goal. They played hard and they made life difficult for us. And I anticipated that in this type of environment.”
But in the 66th minute, Mateo Burgos slid the ball through the middle as Dellabarca cut through and Finnegan moved to the inside.
“Leighton had Finn inside and we thought he was going to slot it to Finn but he actually went around (the) keeper,” Smith said. “I thought he was going to go too far.”
Dellabarca said he was confident in the play from the outset.
“There was a cross that came in and I just carried on through the play and I just kept running,” he said. “I expected it to be there. I just took the ball, went past the goalie and tapped it in.”
The Sundevils had won the first two meetings by a combined 8-1 score, but Dellabarca knew it would be different this time.
“Whenever I come out to play against Bosque, I honestly know they’re going to be a fierce competition,” he said. “I always try my hardest against them. They push me, I push them.”
Bobcats coach Morgen McBreyer said he was pleased with the effort despite the loss.
“It shows how much we’ve grown from even just a month ago when we played Prep last time, to lose 4-0 and to now come back and lose 1-0,” he said. “I’m super proud of them.”
No. 1 SANDIA PREP 1, No. 4 BOSQUE 0
Bosque 0 0- -0
Sandia Prep 0 1- -1
Scoring: SP, 66th, Leighton Dellbarca (Mateo Burgos). Shots on goal: B 3; SP 4. Corner kicks: B 2; SP 2. Saves: B, Luc Carbonneau 3; SP, Alex Jeffries 3. Records: SP 20-2; B 13-6-1
(Click here for the 1A-3A boys bracket.)
No. 1 SANDIA PREP 4, No. 4 ROBERTSON 0: Forward is not necessarily Maddie Hashagen’s natural position, but you’d never know it from her performance against the Cardinals (14-6-2).
She put away all four goals for the Sundevils (17-3-1) in a strong team effort.
“She’s a great leader this year as a captain,” Sandia prep coach Matthew Westerlund said. “She’s somebody that’s been an all-state player for three years. She’s fantastic. The really important thing this year is adjusting to a new role. In the past she’s had to play as a midfielder. This year, she’s had to play as a forward. Next year she may have to play as defender. But the thing about her, she has such a strong background technically, I always trust her with the ball no matter where she is. She’s very clinical in front of the goal.”
Hashagen certainly put on a clinic on how to finish, collecting her first score in the third minute, running onto a pass that Mika Juan deftly tucked between two defenders and then banging it just inside the near post.
Then in the second half, Hashagen and the Sundevils really got busy.
“They were the more physical team in the first half and I was not the most happy coach with certain players out there,” Westerlund said. “But they addressed it very well in the second half. Three goals in a (19)-minute time span is exactly the response we needed.”
Hashagen said she just did what needed to be done.
“I played forward the whole game, usually I switch to midfield so I had lots of opportunities and I definitely could not have done it without my team,” she said. “You can’t play a game on your own. I am really thanking them.”
No. 1 SANDIA PREP 4, No. 4 ROBERTSON 0
Robertson 0 0- -0
Sandia Prep 1 3- -4
Scoring: SP, 3rd, Maddie Hashagen (Mika Juan); SP, 45th, Hashagen (Maya Burgos); SP, 51st, Hashagen (unassisted); SP, 64th, Hashagen (Rylie Elison). Shots on goal: R 1; SP 9. Corner kicks: R 1; SP 6. Saves: R, Savannah Michalski 5; Georgia Williams 1. Records: SP 17-3-1; R 14-6-2
(Click here for the 1A-3A girls bracket.)