Tiger boys lose in shootout at Grants, will host Patriots on Saturday

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Looking at common scores, goal totals and player experience levels, even a newcomer to District 6-4A boys soccer would think Grants would have a hard time beating Los Lunas this year.

Yet that's what happened Saturday, as Los Lunas lost 1-0 in a shootout at Grants.

"They (Grants) basically played defense for 100 minutes," said LLHS coach Eliseo Aguirre. "They ran at 8-1-1 at us — one forward, one midfielder, and eight defenders. They never moved up."

Grants outscored the Tigers 3-1 in the best-of-five shootout; a win in a shootout is considered a one-goal victory in the final score. The loss was the first defeat in District 6-4A play for the Tigers, and dropped their record to 11-5 overall and 6-1 in 6-4A, but the Tigers still have a chance to clinch their first district title in team history.

Los Lunas hosts Miyamura at 11 a.m. Saturday. If the Tigers and Patriots were to have won matches played Tuesday after News-Bulletin press time, Saturday's showdown at Volunteer Field will likely determine the 6-4A champion.

All six of the 6-4A teams wrap up the district schedule on Tuesday, Oct. 23, with Los Lunas playing at Valencia High.

The Tigers outshot Grants 25-3 on Saturday, but because of the way the Pirates (6-7-1, 3-4) were positioned, a number of shots deflected off of at least one Grants player. Los Lunas had nine corner kicks to the Pirates' none, but simply couldn't get a shot into the net.

"I was disgusted," said Aguirre. "We dominated the match. We had our chances."

After the 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtimes resulted in no scoring, the teams began their best-of-five shootout. Three Grants players scored, but Gustavo Muñoz was the only Tiger to beat Pirate goalkeeper John Malcolm.

The Tigers' Alejandro Garcia and Jesus Villa both had their shots stopped by Malcolm. Said Aguilera had his shot hit the goalpost.

After playing at Valencia next Tuesday, the Tigers play a non-district match at Bosque Prep in Albuquerque at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26.

The state playoff seedings, for which the Tigers are nearly assured to be included, will be released Sunday, Oct. 28, with the playoffs beginning the following weekend.


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