Lady Eagles beat Rio Grande, are edged by Socorro

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If the Belen High girls soccer team gets into close matches against District 6-4A opponents in the weeks ahead, the Lady Eagles will have recent experience with such contests.

Very recent experience.

Tuesday, the Lady Eagles won at Rio Grande, 4-3, and Wednesday, Belen lost 5-4 at Socorro.

The Eagles are set to play at Los Lunas at 11 a.m. Saturday in the 6-4A opener for each team. Belen is scheduled to host Gallup at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The Socorro match is probably one the Eagles would like to play again, as Belen blew two leads and gave up the deciding goal in the match's final minutes.

Facing a Warrior team that had outscored its opponents by a combined 63-7 prior to Wednesday, the Eagles had to contain SHS scoring machine Dezirae Armijo.

Armijo is the state's all-time leading scorer, and she knocked in a goal just 1 minute, 40 seconds into Wednesday's match.

Armijo took a great ball from Amanda Saenz on the play, and when she added her second goal of the match just two minutes later, it looked like the Lady Warriors were going to run away with another one.

But the Eagles didn't seemed so impressed, and when they cut the lead in half with a goal just 90 seconds later, it became apparent Belen had indeed come to play. When Alyssa Duran beat Socorro goalkeeper Tayler Hammach for the equalizer 16 minutes in, it became obvious that Belen was no pushover. Then when the Eagles took a 3-2 lead 16 minutes later, the Lady Warriors looked like they might be in for a rough day.

But that's exactly what happened for Socorro in the second half. Somebody else stepped up, and that somebody was Molina.

Twelve minutes into the second half, she took another great through ball from Saenz and beat Belen goalkeeper Lupita Sabinas, who despite giving up two early goals had since been a force in net for the Eagles. It was a revitalizing goal for the Warriors.

Four minutes later, Belen used another inspired offensive attack to work the ball in to the Lady Warriors' penalty area, and Socorro was called for a foul. The referee awarded the Eagles a penalty kick from 12 yards out.

Kaitlyn D'Arcangeli, a senior who recently returned from an injury, took full advantage as she rocketed the ball into the upper left corner of the net.

Momentum returned to Socorro when Ashley Nash knocked in a rebound goal for her team with 14 minutes remaining to again even the score, 4-4.

In the waning moments of injury time, Dominique Molina put in her second goal of the day and won the match for Socorro. The referee blew the match-ending whistle almost immediately after the score.

The last-second victory propels Socorro to 8-3 on the season while Belen drops to 3-6.