Begay’s goal in double OT lifts Lady Eagles to win over VHS

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It became an instant classic Valencia County rivalry match when Belen and Valencia battled to two overtimes in Tuesday’s District 6-4A showdown.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Belen forward Jadyn Casillas, right, puts a quick reversal move on Valencia’s Jazirae Chavira in Tuesday’s thrilling double-overtime Eagle win. Saturday, Valencia hosts Los Lunas and Belen hosts Grants, with both matches set for 11 a.m.

Belen’s Alexis Begay scored the winning goal with just over five minutes left in the second overtime to give the Lady Eagles a 2-1 win.

Valencia followed the heartbreaking loss with a 5-1 non-district defeat at the hands of Carlsbad on Thursday on the Lady Jaguars’ home pitch.

Belen (5-7, 3-1 in 6-4A) will host Grants (5-6, 1-3) in a match set for an 11 a.m. kickoff on Saturday. Grants is coming off of a 3-2 loss to Los Lunas on Thursday.

Valencia (7-5, 2-2) will host Los Lunas (6-6, 2-2) on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m.

Belen 2, Valencia 1 (2OT)

It took two overtimes, two red cards and a lot of emotion on both sides to settle the district battle on Belen’s home pitch.

In the 95th minute, Begay got a breakaway opportunity. She moved the ball left to avoid a Jaguar defender and sent a crossing shot to the right side of the goal past goaltender Haley Baca. The Eagles celebrated in front of the net, while the Jags hung their heads in disbelief.

Begay veered off the front of the goal to gain an angle for the shot.

“Aim low, at the corners, anything to get it into the net,” said Begay of her practiced efforts to score. “I think that I am looking to see if a defender is coming to intercept me.”

The pass for the winning goal came from midfielder Brandy Ortega.

“I wanted it bad and I was so tired at the end. I knew I had to get it out of there,” said Ortega of her clearing kick.

She then credited Begay, the sophomore forward.

“It was honestly Alexis. She always finds my passes and makes it worth it,” said Ortega.

The dejection felt by the Valencia team extended to coach Chavez-Burkhard.

“I don’t think that we played to our potential at all. Something about this field, we don’t play 100 percent. It has been that way the last three years,” said the coach.

The game got very physical after Valencia scored the initial goal on a Norene Archuleta breakaway. Archuleta had the first shot blocked by Belen goalkeeper Maria Sabinas. Archuleta got the rebound and sent the ball into the corner of the net to give the Jags a 1-0 edge.

An exchange with Begay trying to reverse field just beyond the penalty box resulted in Kristina Contratto leaving the field with an apparent knee injury. While the injury appeared serious, no cards were issued on the play. A verbal warning and a foul, were given to Begay for using her shoulder into the other player, but nothing to do with the tangled feet that resulted in the injury.

Belen scored on a Kaitlyn D’Arcangeli goal as she dribbled the ball from the midfield stripe to within 10 yards of the goal. Her strike made it 1-1 17 minutes into the second half.

Red cards were issued to each team in the last 10 minutes. Belen lost goaltender Sabinas in the 72nd minute and Valencia’s Miranda Kittredge was ejected in the 77th minute.

Linda Salazar moved from midfield to keeper and was spectacular in the two overtime periods. She stopped three goals at the end of regulation, and halted the only shot of the first extra frame from the foot of Kaitlyn Craig.

“I got pretty nervous, but I know that I can always count on my girls. They always pushed up when I needed them too,” said Salazar of her time in goal.

Belen coach Wilfred Carrasco was on the edge for most of the game.

“This is a game that could keep your pulse up,” the coach said after the close win. “We told the girls from the beginning that this would be a hard fight. Valencia played a good game today, and made us play their game, for the most part.

“Our girls were tired at the half. We let them know that is when the great things happen in any sport — when you are tired and feel like you can’t give any more.”

Carlsbad 5, Valencia 1

Thursday at Valencia, the host Jaguars fell to Carlsbad in a non-district contest.

Jag keeper Haley Baca played the entire match.

Carlsbad improved to 11-4 for the year with the win. Valencia dropped to 7-5.


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