Tigers handle Knights; 6-4A play starts at Belen

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Without having its best defensive player available, the Los Lunas High boys soccer team needed a big second half from its offense to erase a two-goal halftime deficit on Tuesday afternoon.

The Tigers got five second-half goals to grab a 6-4 home win over Del Norte on Tuesday, sending them into Saturday's District 6-4A opener at Belen with a 5-4 record.

"Del Norte came out ready, and grabbed the early lead," said LLHS coach Eliseo Aguirre. "And the Belen match might have the same importance on the first 15-20 minutes. It's going to be a battle."

Tuesday, the Tigers were without senior Gustavo Muñoz, who had been issued a red card in LLHS' previous match.

But while Aguirre admitted Muñoz's absence had an impact Tuesday, he said other Tiger players did not play defense as well as usual.

The Knights (1-5) scored in the 13th and 22nd minutes. In the 26th minute, Tiger sophomore Alejandro Garcia scored the first of his three goals of the day, with Mario E. Garcia assisting.

The score wouldn't change again until Del Norte scored five minutes into the second half, with Alejandro Garcia answering two minutes later. Martin Saenz had the assist for Los Lunas.

Daniel Borjas gave Del Norte a 4-2 lead with a goal in the 54th minute.

Los Lunas senior Aaron Sais assisted on a goal by Saenz in the 63rd minute, and Said Aguilera tied it 4-4 with about nine minutes left in regulation on a penalty kick.

The Tigers took their first lead of the match when Alejandro Garcia scored with about four minutes to go. German Rojero was credited with the assist.

Angel Gonzalez added an insurance goal for Los Lunas about two minutes later, with Alejandro Garcia assisting.

The Tigers misfired on some opportunities, as they had 19 shots on goal to the Knights' seven, and had four more corner kicks than the visitors.

Aguirre said his team picked up its level of play in the last 20 minutes.

After Saturday's trip to Belen, the Tigers are set to host Grants on Thursday, Sept. 27.

Aguirre acknowledged his defense will likely have to put forth a better effort if the Tigers are to win at Belen. While the Eagle defense has struggled, Belen has some scoring ability up front.

"Belen will be ready," he said. "They're the defending district champs, so they have a title to defend."


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