D’Arcangeli, other Lady Eagles named to all-district teams


Some Belen High girls soccer players who contributed to the team’s best post-season run since 2008-09 were recently honored for their efforts.

News-Bulletin file photo: Belen High senior Kaitlyn D’Arcangeli, left, tries to win a ball from Alli Madrid of Los Lunas in a September match. D’Arcangeli was named to the All-District 6-4A first team for 2012-13, and she helped the Lady Eagles reach the Class 4A state quarterfinals.

Senior midfielder Kaitlyn D’Arcangeli and sophomore forward Alexis Begay made the All-District 6-4A first team. Junior goalkeeper Lupita Sabinas and senior defenders Brandy Ortega and Crystal Smith made the second team, and sophomore midfielder Ari Valdez and junior forward Natasha Sprunk received honorable mention honors.

The Lady Eagles placed second in District 6-4A for the second consecutive year. They won a first-round state playoff game against Santa Teresa before falling to Albuquerque Academy in the quarterfinals, ending the season with a 12-9 record.

The Belen all-district players were added recently to nmsoccer.com. However, no nmsoccer.com roster for BHS was created in time for the all-district Eagles to be included on the ballot for all-state teams, so no Belen players could be considered for all-state honors.

A similar situation occurred in 2011-12, as no Belen players were on the all-state ballot last year, either.

D’Arcangeli was likely Belen’s leading scorer; no statistics were available at press time. The multi-sport star began her career as an Eagle eighth-grader, then played for Los Lunas as a freshman and sophomore before returning to Belen for her junior and senior years.

The senior, who also kicked extra points for the BHS football team in the second half of its 2012-13 season, was injured during the first part of soccer season. However, the diminutive-but-speedy D’Arcangeli returned just before District 6-4A matches began, and was a major factor in Belen’s 8-2 record in district matches, playing as a roving midfielder that moved up and down the field.

Just as D’Arcangeli helped controlled the middle of the field, Begay used her speed on the outside to create scoring chances. As a second-year starter, the sophomore showed the aggressiveness needed to make opposing coaches account for her.

Ortega earned four varsity letters and was a four-year starter. She helped anchor the defense and used her speed to break up many scoring chances of Eagle opponents.

Smith is known not only for her long, distinct, fierce-looking braided hair, but also for her no-nonsense defense. Strong fundamentals allowed the multi-year starter to win balls from talented opponents, and to help the Belen offense start attacks.

Sabinas has been the team’s main goalkeeper for all three of her varsity seasons. She made some incredible saves against some high-scoring teams this season. She helped the Eagles hand Miyamura what was only its second district loss in the past three seasons, making 13 saves in Belen’s 3-1 win.

Valdez is another multi-year starter. The diminutive sophomore made improvements this seasons in several areas. She scored the match-ending overtime goal in September’s district-opening win at Los Lunas.

Sprunk scored some important goals for the Eagles in 2012. Even though the junior forward and two other players weren’t allowed to play in the state quarterfinals for an undisclosed reason, Sprunk used her 5-foot, 9-inch frame to create matchup problems, and she scored the Eagles first goal in their 2-0 first-round state tourney win over Santa Teresa.

The Eagles should return considerable talent from this year’s team, though it will miss the contributions of D’Arcangeli the most. Belen will also lose the services of the other departing seniors: Ortega, Smith, Alisha Silva, Felisha Silva, Kyanna Garcia and Emily Crowder.

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