Trio of county teams make girls state slate

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The Class 4A Soccer Tournaments start this weekend and representation is heavy on the girls side, with all three Valencia County prep teams participating. On the boys side, only Los Lunas made the post season, as the Tigers were rewarded with a No. 4 seed and a bye this weekend.

The Tiger girls District 6-4A championship was not enough for a top-four seed, but Los Lunas (12-7) will make its first tournament appearance since 2010 as the No. 5 seed, facing Santa Fe (12-7) at Volunteer Field in Los Lunas at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Kenn Rodriguez- News-Bulletin photo: KIRA ORTIZ of Los Lunas High, left, defends against a counter attack by Valencia High’s Carolina Meastas, far right, during the Tigers-Jaguars match on Oct. 19. Both teams were selcted along with Belen to play in the Class 4A Girls State Tournament this past Sunday.

The Demonettes beat the Tigers 2-1 in an extra-time penalty kick shootout in Santa Fe last Thursday.

“We had a good look at them and know what to plan for,” said Tigers coach James Torres. “We’re definitely looking forward to playing them on our field. That gives us the advantage this time around.”

Belen and Valencia will both be making a third-straight appearance in the state tournament on Saturday. The 13-6 Eagles host Santa Teresa (11-7), their first round opponent from last season, while the 11-8 Jaguars travel to Roswell to take on a Goddard team that beat them 1-0 early in the season.

VHS coach Kimberly Chavez said her Jags played with no substitutes and without three starters against Goddard in their first match. This time Valencia will be at full strength, she said.

“Having a whole team will make a big difference,” she said. “They’re a big team, they’re aggressive and will shoot when they get a chance. So we’ll have to play in front of them and get better touches.”

The Jaguars’ match against the Rockets kicks off in Roswell at 4 p.m. Friday.

Belen defeated the Desert Warriors 2-0 in last year’s first round, so BHS coach Wilfred Carrasco said his team is familiar with them.

“They’re a well-coached team,” he said. “They play up-tempo, high-pressure soccer. We’re excited to play them again. If we can win the 50-50 balls, and set the pace, we’ll be OK. Hopefully we can put together 80 minutes of soccer and play our style of soccer.”

The Eagles match against Santa Teresa is set to kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday at Eagle Field in Belen.

Belen and Los Lunas ended up on the same side of the bracket as No. 1 seed St. Pius X and defending champions Albuquerque Academy, the No. 4 seed. The two Metro-area powers are the Eagles and Tigers potential opponents in next Thursday’s quarterfinals.

The quarterfinals of the Class 4A Girls State Tournament are set for 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the APS Soccer Complex on Albuquerque’s Westside.

See Sunday’s Web First story on this weekend’s matches at www.news-bulletin.com for details, or read next Thursday’s print edition for match times.

The Los Lunas boys finished the season with a 3-1 win over Class 1A/3A Bosque School at Volunteer Field, a win that coach Daniel Martinez said he felt clinched the Tigers’ No. 4 seed in the Class 4A State Tournament, which begins with First round action Saturday.

Los Lunas has a bye this weekend and plays the winner of the match between No. 5 Capital (12-6) and St. Pius X (9-11) Saturday in Santa Fe. The Tigers’ quarter-final match is set for 11:15 a.m. next Thursday, Nov. 7, at the APS Soccer Complex.

Friday’s win over the Bobcats, who are the No. 2 seed in the Class 1A/3A bracket, was “a big deal,” said Martinez.

“We were definitely at risk of falling to the five seed,” he said. “We knew we needed to win that game to get a first-round bye. We needed to send a message to the committee to get that first round bye and we did.”

Tied 1-1 at halftime against Bosque, the Tigers got the game-winner from senior Aaron Escarcega and an insurance goal from Alejandro Garcia, who scored a brace with two goals in the match.

Like the Tiger girls, the Los Lunas boys were placed on the same side of the bracket as traditional powers St. Pius and Albuquerque Academy, the tournament’s top seed. Martinez, who said he feels the tournament is “wide open” this year, said his team is prepared.

“Strangely, we saw us being on the same side as Pius and Academy a long time ago and we’ve done our homework. I hope it pays off in the end. But I think at this point, we’re ready for the task. We’re ready for the challenge.”

Valencia, which finished third in District 6-4A behind Los Lunas and Gallup Miyamura, was passed over for a state tournament berth despite having a better record than four of the 12-team field’s teams. The Jaguars finished 16th in the final Max Preps Class 4A poll with a 12-8 record. VHS was passed over for an at-large bid while schools such as 10-8 Chaparral, 4A defending state champions, 10-10 Los Alamos and 9-11 St. Pius received bids. Like VHS, Chaparral finished third in its district.