BHS girls edge Grants

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Thanks partly to the play of a couple of seasoned veterans and one varsity newcomer, the Belen Eagle girls soccer team managed to eek out a district win Saturday.

A goal and an assist by Alexis Begay, a goal by Natasha Sprunk and strong goalkeeping by Lana Puddu were all a part of the Lady Eagles' 2-1 home win over Grants. The Eagles improved to 4-1 in District 6-4A with the win, and have worked their way back to 7-7 overall after starting the season 2-5.

Belen was set to host Los Lunas after News-Bulletin press time Tuesday, and is scheduled to play an 11 a.m. match at Gallup on Saturday.

"Belen showed great resilience," Eagle coach Wilfred Carrasco said in an e-mail to the News-Bulletin. "Belen was able to adjust, and our girls stepped up to take up the slack. All players gave quality minutes, and we were able to play girls who have not had the opportunity to get much playing time this season."

Carrasco said Begay had an unassisted break-away goal at 30:29 from the right side, carrying the ball inside the 6-yard line, pulled the goalkeeper to her left, one-on-one, and putting in a hard shot inside the far post for a 1-0 BHS lead.

The score wouldn't change until the seventh minute of the second half. That's when another sophomore, Danielle Rael of Grants, ended up with a breakaway of her own, and beat Eagle goalkeeper Lana Puddu for a goal that made it 1-1.

About eight minutes later, Belen would get what ended up being the winning goal. Begay made a run with the ball, taking on the Grants defense and pulled defensive players to her side. She crossed to Sprunk at about the 6-yard line, and Sprunk put in the go-ahead goal. Neither team would score again.

Carrasco said Begay took a severe hit and "appeared to have a bruised right calf/shin," and had to be helped from the pitch, but later returned.

Puddu was filling in for Maria Sabinas, the team's everyday goalkeeper. Sabinas received a red card in the Eagles' Oct. 2 win over Valencia, and Puddu made seven saves in the sophomore's rare varsity start in goal.

Carrasco praised the way the Eagles supported their goalkeeper.

"The team responded, for the most part, by pushing the tempo and keeping the play on Grants' side of the pitch for most of the match," said Carrasco.

Yet another Belen sophomore, Ari Valdez, sat out Saturday, due to a blow to the head suffered during the Valencia match, said the coach.

After taking on Gallup, whom the Eagles beat handily in the teams' first meeting, Belen will host Miyamura for a 4 p.m. match on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Belen lost 5-2 to Miyamura, the two-time defending 6-4A champions, in a Sept. 29 match in Gallup.


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