Eagle boys soccer faces tough foes before hosting Los Lunas

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When Class 5A Sandia and Class 4A Albuquerque academy visited the Eagles this past week, it was some of the toughest opposition the Belen High boys team had seen this season.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Belen’s Pete Warner, right, tries to win a ball from Sandia’s Mathew Slemp in Tuesday’s match. The Eagles were shut out by both Sandia and Albuquerque Academy this week and will host Los Lunas at 11 a.m. Saturday in the District 6-4A opener for both teams.

The results were not pretty, but head coach Danny Krow said that the learning experience was invaluable.

Belen (1-8) lost to Academy 9-0 on Thursday and lost 7-0 Tuesday to Sandia, in a contest that features the return of former coach Brian Weems to the Belen field.

The Eagles jump into District 6-4A play on Saturday morning, hosting Los Lunas. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.

Krow hopes the tough schedule leading to district play will help his team grow in experience and skill.

“Right now, we are just trying to get everyone on the same page. Now that district is coming up, it is going to be tough,” said Krow.

“Hopefully we can keep it a little closer. I would really like to get a win against Los Lunas or Valencia.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 25, the Belen boys and girls teams are both set to host Gallup in 4 p.m. side-by-side matches.

Sandia 7, Belen 0

Featuring a lineup of soccer players standing more than six feet tall, the Matadors looked like giants towering over the young Belen team.

The appearance on the field might be a metaphor for where the two programs are as Class 5A state playoff contender Sandia downed Class 4A Belen.

One of those six-footers, John Jamison, led the Sandia scoring effort, tallying three goals and an assist in the decisive victory.

Jamison scored the first goal in the eighth minute and the final goal of the first half in the 32nd minute. Sandia struggled with the scrappy play of the out-matched Eagles in the first half.

“I think it is just the guys knowing that they just wanted to stick it to their old coach,” said Krow, explaining the early intensity from the Belen team.

Weems coached the Eagles to state finals appearances the last two seasons before moving to Sandia in May. Only three returning Eagles were left from the successful Weems’ Belen teams.

Belen did get come encouraging news as Alejandro Chaves returned in goal to start the second half. He had been injured in the previous match at West Mesa, but made a quick recovery.

He stopped six shots, while allowing four goals in the loss. Michael Vialpando, who filled in at goal during the first half, stopped four attempts and allowed three goals.

“They are a real good team,” said Krow of Sandia. “I am not saying that we are not a good team, but they are in a higher class and have more experience.”

Belen finished the game with only two shots on the Sandia goal.

Abq. Academy 9, Belen 0

Academy scored quickly in the rout over the host Eagles on Thursday, but Belen played surprisingly well against one of the top Class 4A teams in the state during the first half.

The Chargers’ Andrew Stone tallied a goal just 47 seconds into the match to give Academy a 1-0 lead.

But Belen rallied defensively, although, for the second straight match, was not able to get many shots on goal. Academy was only up 3-0 at the half.

“We held them in the first half, and I thought they did pretty good,” said Krow. “They just got down in the second half.”

The Belen coach was disappointed in the first-minute goal.

“It just takes us a few minutes to wake up. We had a little different starting line-up,” said Krow.

Stone added two more goals in the second half and Jaron Thompson scored twice in the first half in a match where Academy outshot Belen, 22-2.

Krow noted that he sees improvement in the young Eagles, but the quality of competition lately has not let that show through.

“We feel like we are building, but we have just been shut down,” said Krow. “We haven’t had a chance to show what they can do.”

Belen was without the services of goaltender Alejandro Chaves, who had a dental appointment Thursday, according to Krow. He is expected to play against Los Lunas in Saturday’s district opener.


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.