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).
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.