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Rams, Storm girls start state soccer tournament in quarterfinals Thursday

The Rio Rancho High School varsity girls soccer team tangles with Cibola for the third time this season while Cleveland meets Carlsbad for the first time ever in state quarterfinal games Thursday afternoon at the APS soccer complex.

The winners move into a Class 5A semifinal game Friday at 4:30 p.m. If the Rams and Storm win Thursday, it’ll set up their third meeting of the season, with the winner advancing to the state championship game Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

The second-seeded Rams (17-3) had a first-round bye last week, while the 10th-seeded Cougars (11-8) defeated No. 8 Sandia (10-9), 2-1, in a first-round meeting.

The Rams and Cougars have met three times so far:

Cibola defeated RRHS 2-1 in a shootout at the APS soccer complex on Sept. 4 in the APS Metro Championships, but the Rams won the all-important District 1-5A meetings, 1-0 at Rio Rancho Stadium on Oct. 12 and 2-0 on Oct. 23 at the APS complex.

Cibola and Rio Rancho square off at 1 p.m.

The third-seeded Storm (14-4) also had a first-round bye last week, while the sixth-seeded Cavewomen (16-5) eked out a 3-2 first-round win over No. 11 Las Cruces (13-7).


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Carlsbad is led by junior forward Amelia Bierle, who has 20 goals and 10 assists this season. Audriana Chavez, also a junior, is the Storm’s leading scorer with 19 goals.

The teams have two common foes: Oñate (Carlsbad beat the Knights 3-0, 5-0 and 5-0; the Storm beat Oñate 2-0 in their season opener), and Volcano Vista (Hawks beat Cavewomen 3-0; Storm split two meetings, losing 3-2 and winning 2-1 in a shootout).

In other quarterfinal games Thursday, No. 1 Eldorado (17-1) faces Hobbs (17-3), a 7-4 first-round winner over Albuquerque High (14-5) at 1, and No. 4 Volcano Vista (13-5) faces two-time defending champ and No. 5 La Cueva (13-6), a 7-0 first-round winner over Valley (12-7), at 1:30.

Those two winners meet in Friday’s other semifinal, also at 4:30.

Headers: If the Rams and Storm win, Friday will mark their second postseason meeting. On Nov. 4, 2010, the Rams beat the Storm, 1-0, in a shootout.