Tigers can clinch first-ever district title Saturday

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Just as it had done a few days prior, the Los Lunas High boys soccer team unleashed its powerful offense on the road against Gallup on Tuesday.

But unlike last weekend's loss at Grants, the Tigers were able to put in a lot of goals against a much weaker opponent, as LLHS rolled to an 8-0 win over Gallup. The victory set up a showdown Saturday against Miyamura at 11 a.m. at Los Lunas' Volunteer Field, and the Tigers can clinch their first-ever district championship with a victory.

The Tigers are 11-5 overall and 7-1 in District 6-4A. Miyamura is 11-4 and 6-2 in district; the Patriots suffered a surprising 2-1 loss at Belen on Tuesday.

The Tigers end the District 6-4A slate at local rival Valencia High on Tuesday, Oct. 23, while Miyamura hosts Gallup (0-17, 0-8) that day.

"It's really important for us to play our game Saturday, and possess the ball," said LLHS coach Eliseo Aguirre. "We practice that all week. We can't let them take us out of our element."

Tuesday's win came relatively easy, as the Tigers scored three times in the first 20 minutes and five times in the second half. Alejandro Garcia continued his amazing sophomore season with five more goals, bringing his total to 36 for the season.

Garcia scored in the fifth minute of the match, with Martin Saenz assisting. Saenz got a goal of his own about nine minutes later, with Jesus Villa getting the assist.

Garcia scored again in the 20th minute off of an assist from Gustavo Muñoz, and Garcia scored the first two goals of the second half. Saenz scored in the 66th minute, and Garcia and Muñoz added goals in the match's waning moments.

Garcia added two second-half assists, and Said Aguilera had one. The Tigers outshot the Bengals 23-2 in the contest.

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

The 12 teams of the Class 4A 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 at the No. 5 through No. 8 seeds.

The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be held at the APS Soccer Complex on Nov. 8, 9 and 10.

Los Lunas, if it sweeps its three remaining contests, has an outside chance at getting a top-four seed in the playoffs, but Aguirre thinks the best the Tigers can get is a No. 5 or No. 6.


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