WEB FIRST: Boys soccer season starts, Tigers slash St. Pius

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The Los Lunas Tigers tallied the first notable win of the young season this week as all three county boys soccer teams began play.

TIGERS  START 2-0 WITH WINS OVER  SARTANS, PINTOS

The Los Lunas boys soccer team made a statement Tuesday, defeating perennial Class 4A state power Albuquerque St. Pius X 2-1 at Volunteer Field in Los Lunas to run their record to 2-0 on the season.

The Tigers started the season on Thursday, going on the road to Moriarty (0-1) and easily dispatching the Pintos 8-1 as senior Alejandro Garcia six goals and newcomer Chris Lovato tallied two more goals and picked up four assists for the game. The Tigers outshot Moriarty 22-5 for the game and controlled the tempo while working on their possessions game.

Against St. Pius, freshman Yain Rodriguez scored an early goal and junior Oscar Davila notched the game winner in the 34th minute as the Davila and the Los Lunas defense were able to contain and frustrate the Sartans in the first half.

St. Pius (0-1) got a goal back in 54th minute of the second half but wasn’t able to find the equalizer in the final.

Coach Daniel Martinez said he talked to his team at halftime about protecting the lead from a possible Sartan surge and his team responded well.

“The ability for our team to execute was definitely a big step forward,” he said. “Knowing in close game that we can pull it out and hold together is big thing. In years past, this team might have broken down and other teams would score and even win. “The ability to do this, this time was a big step.”

VALENCIA OVERWHELM SOCORRO

The Valencia boys scored four first half goals and were dominant in defeating Socorro 7-0 on Tuesday afternoon. Edgar Rivas and Cristian Garcia each scored a pair of goals as the Jaguars scored three goals in the first eight minutes of the game and never looked back in handing the Warriors from Class A-3A their first loss of the season.

“That’s how it should look,” said coach Eric Gutierrez. “We’re been practicing our possessions and practicing our passes. That’s why I feel we dominated. If you keep the ball, you tell the other team what’s going on. I just hope we can carry this intensity in our next game (at Artesia.)”

Valencia (1-0) was able hold possession as play centered mainly in the Warriors’ half of the field for much of the game. The Jags defense was so stout that Socorro did not manage a single shot on goal. Junior midfielders David Acosta and Manuel Chavez and senior Alan Ramirez each added a goal in the win.

“7-0 is hard to do and Socorro is really strong and they have heart,” Rivas said. “They never gave up. So a win like this is good for us.”

Socorro falls to 2-1.

BELEN OPENS SEASON WITH TOUGH LOSSES

BELEN GOALKEEPER Alejandro Sanchez makes a push save against Hope Christian on Tuesday.

The Eagles boys team found the going tough in its first two matches of the season, giving up early goals in both games to fall 6-0 at Artesia Saturday and 6-0 to Hop Christian in their home opener in Belen on Tuesday.

Against Artesia, the Bulldogs scored a pair of early goals then continued to pepper the Belen with shots and poured on the pressure on the youthful Eagles, who committed  errors that led to four of the Bulldogs’ six goals in the first match of the season for both teams.

“I don’t know if it was the long bus ride or the unfamiliar playing surface, but our younger guys just came out really tight,” said coach Danny Krow. “We made a few mistakes early and it made it tough on us the rest of the way.”

The pattern repeated itself on Tuesday, as the Huskies from Class A-3A scored two goals in the first 15 minutes and continued to pressure Belen. The Eagles showed flare and imagination in their passing and ball movement throughout but were unable to consistently penetrate Hope’s well-organized defense.

Senior goalkeeper Alejandro Sanchez was steady in goal, managing several spectacular saves against the Huskies, while the back four, anchored by Manuel Parra, were kept busy for much of match.

With the loss Belen fell to 0-2 on the season. Hope improved to 2-0.

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