County teams at top of district early


Play began for county soccer teams in District 6-4A on Saturday and continued Tuesday as boys and girls teams from Belen, Los Lunas and Valencia High School turned their attention to league matches.

Belen (8-3, 2-0) began league play Saturday with an 8-1 battering of visiting Gallup before getting two goals in the second half against county rivals Valencia Tuesday afternoon to remain undefeated in the district early in the season.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: BELEN’S DANIELLE SAAVEDRA, right, attempts to head in the ball past Valencia goalkeeper Haley Baca during the two team’s match Tuesday afternoon. The Eagles beat the Jaguars 2-0 after defeating visiting Gallup 8-1 on Saturday.

Jadyn Casillas and Alexis Begaye scored in the 64th and 69th minutes to break what was a scoreless tie at halftime against the Jaguars, who managed just two shots in the match, compared to the Eagles’ nine.

“I think starting the game we had to just get the feel of the game,” said Casillas. “We’ve been working on our passing and keeping shape and that helped a lot (in the second half).”

Casillas and Begaye both scored a pair of goals against Gallup on Saturday after Alexis Silva and Leandra Sanchez started the scoring in the 4th and 5th minutes of the match. Gallup scored its lone goal in the 13th minute, but reserve Gracie Griego got the goal back three minutes later. Danielle Saavedra also scored for Belen.

“It’s everyone working together instead of individually,” Casillas said of her team’s effort against the Bengals. “It’s very important. It helps us get ready for the rest of the season, knowing we can handle teams like these. We’ve been playing really hard teams, and that’s helped us because we see how they do things.”

Coach Kimberly Chavez said Valencia (6-4, 0-2) didn’t respond well to goals scored against them in both games.

Against Gallup Miyamura Saturday, the Jaguars were tied 1-1 at halftime, but the Patriots scored three second-half goals, including the game winner 15 minutes into the half, to salt the game away.

Miyamura outshot the Jags 8-5 but Valencia earned four corner kicks to the Patriots’ three. Bryana Rubio scored the Jaguars’ lone goal.

“The dynamics of the game shifted (after the goals,)” said Valencia coach Kimberly Chavez. “I felt we dominated the game. (Belen) got one lucky goal off a misjudgment and everybody shut down. They played a little better than the (Miyamura) game.

“(Miyamura) had a lot of outside shots. We did well at points but once they scored, it kind of stopped us in our tracks.”

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: MIDFIELDER OSCAR DAVILA of Los Lunas High sends in a direct kick for a goal against Grants on Saturday at Voluneter Field in Los Lunas. The Tigers defeated the Pirates 8-1 Saturday, then beat Gallup High 8-0 in Gallup Tuesday afternoon to go to 2-0 in District 6-4A. The 8-3 Tigers play league contender Gallup Miyamura at home this Saturday. The Patriots are currently 9-2, 1-0 in district.

Los Lunas (6-4, 2-0) fell behind early, then scored four straight goals to defeat visiting Grants on Saturday. ReAnna Torres scored a goal and notched two assists as the Tigers out-shot the Pirates 8-2.

Cassandra Castleberry, Justine Candelaria and Samantha Lucero each added a goal in the win.

“We were ready for this game,” said Lucero. “We went harder in the second half. We shot a lot in the first half, it just wasn’t going in.”

Los Lunas won 2-0 at Gallup on Tuesday, dropping the Bengals to 3-5 and 0-5 in district. The Tigers next play Miyamura at home Saturday then travel to Valencia High on Tuesday

Belen travels to Grants Saturday and Miyamura next Tuesday. Valencia plays Kirtland Central in a non-district game today before traveling to Gallup Saturday then retuning home to host Los Lunas High on Tuesday afternoon.

Los Lunas (9-3, 2-0) opened the district season at home with a convincing 8-1 win over Grants on Saturday then followed that up with an 8-0 win at Gallup on Tuesday to set up a battle with district contender Gallup Miyamura (9-2, 1-0) at LLHS’ Volunteer Field on Saturday.

Against Grants, the Tigers out-shot the Pirates 24-6 and sophomore Chris Lovato scored five goals as Los Lunas took a 4-0 halftime lead. Junior Alejandro Garcia, Shawn Romero and Oscar Davila each added a goal and each notched an assist in the win.

Grants (6-2, 0-1) got its lone goal in the second half on a penalty kick.

Lovato scored four goals and Garcia added a pair against Gallup as the Tigers blanked the Bengals. In a make-up match last Tuesday, Los Lunas fell to Class 5A Albuquerque High 2-0. The match was rescheduled after the deluge of rain caused a cancellation on Sept. 10.

“We’ve kind of just been building on the possession game,” said Tigers coach Daniel Martinez. “We’re up 2-0 in district, so it’s a good place to be. We’re hoping to build on it from here.”

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: FULLBACK KAYLA ARMIJO, center, of the Los Lunas girls soccer team battles for a loose ball against Grants Saturday in the Tigers’ District 6-4A opener. LLHS won 4-2.

The Belen soccer team entered Saturday’s match against Gallup on a four-game losing streak. But the Eagles’ Paul Rivera scored just four minutes into the match against the Bengals (0-10, 0-2) and Julio Ruiz added a pair of back-to-back goals 20 minutes later as Belen (2-7, 1-1) cruised to a 5-0 halftime lead.

As they did in the first half, the Eagles kept possession most of the second half but could not find the back of the net again. Belen out-shot Gallup 11-4 and forced the Bengals’ goalkeeper Issac Seslar and his replacement Kevin Langley into seven saves on the game. Langley came into the match midway through the second half after Seslar was sent off with a yellow card for taking a ball in the 18-yard-box with cleats up, endangering a Belen player. The Eagles, however, were unable to convert the ensuing penalty kick.

“We actually had some time and were able to move the ball around and score some goals,” said coach Danny Krow. “(This match) shows they’re a better team than they think they are.”

The Eagles faced county rivals Valencia at Valencia High School on Tuesday, with the Jaguars coming away with a 6-2 win at Valencia High School. The Jaguars (6-5, 1-1) fell 2-0 at Gallup Miyamura on Saturday.

Valencia forced Miyamura keeper Xavier Chavez into 10 saves on the day, but were unable to get a shot past him, while the Patriots scored both their goals in the first half.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: MIDFIELDER JONATHAN MCKAY, right, takes a shot against Gallup in Belen’s 5-0 win Saturday over the Bengals at Eagle Field in Belen. Belen snapped a four-game winless streak by beating the Bengals, who are winless on the season.

Against Belen, the Jags out-shot the Eagles 17-7 and took over with five first-half goals after surrendering a goal to BHS’ Rodolfo Gallegos in the 15th minute.

Valencia’s Edgar Rivas and Alan Ramirez each registered a treble with a trio of goals apiece. The Eagles’ Ricardo Aguillar added a second-half goal.

Belen plays at Grants saturday before travelling to gallup on Tuesday. Valencia travels to gallup Saturday then plays Los Lunas at LLHS on Tuesday.