No. 9 Farmington pulled out a 2-0 victory at home against No. 3 Aztec on Tuesday night at Hutchison Stadium. Meanwhile in Kirtland, the No. 8 Lady Broncos beat No. 5 Piedra Vista 1-0.
“This is huge for us,” said Farmington head coach Shannon Gill. “Things are starting to fall into place for us. They know they can play with anybody in the state if they want to. We found a way to win in the last five minutes, but give Aztec credit, we were in a dogfight. These girls stepped up for us.”
Ashton Staley scored the opener for the Lady Scorps with just six minutes to play, then Hannah Kelley put the game away with a goal two and a half minutes from the final whistle.
Aztec head Stephen Parks said the loss was an “eye opener” and hoped that his team will be able to brush the loss off.
“It's not fun, but we have to move on and get ready for the next game,” Parks said. “We're going to put it behind us and work hard for Thursday.”
Staley put Farmington on the board when a long cross bounced in front of Aztec goalkeeper Hannah Jones.
The ball ricocheted around the penalty box then fell to the junior midfielder, who calmly fired it into the back of the net.
“I was really excited,” Staley said on scoring the goal. “It sent chills through my body. It was pretty cool. We've been playing some pretty good teams, and once we scored the first goal, we knew we could get through it.
Four minutes later, Kelley salted the game away for the Lady Scorpions with the second goal.
Jones and one of her defenders collided, jarring the ball loose. Kelley pounced on the chance and sent her shot into the undefended goal.
Aztec had the best of the play in the first half, creating three good scoring chances.
Hailey Morris had two breakaways stopped by Lady Scorps keeper Ellae Montoya.
Kayli Farmer also broke free from the Farmington defense but, again, Montoya was there for the rescue.
Parks thought the missed chances in the first half were critical in the defeat and credited Montoya for shutting down the Lady Tiger attack.
“If you don’t take your opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net and finish, then all it takes is one goal to beat you,” Parks said. “We had our opportunities in the first half, but (Montoya) made some great saves. There are also things we can do differently to make sure we put the ball in the back of the net.”
Montoya stopped all four Lady Tiger shots on goal to earn the shutout.
“Ellae is pretty good,” Staley said. “That’s what she’s there for. Our defense is pretty strong, but when things get through, it’s good she’s back there.”
Montoya’s play gave the Lady Scorps momentum and spurred her team to victory, Gill said.
“She played a phenomenal game for us,” Gill said. “She made some tremendous saves and came out to stop some one-on-ones.”
Farmington didn’t muster much offense in the first half, attempting a couple of long range shots but never really threatened to score.
The Lady Scorps offense got going in the second half, outshooting Aztec 6-1.
Aztec will look to avoid going 0-2 in district play against No. 5 Piedra Vista on Thursday at Hutchison Stadium.
“They knew coming in they’d have the target on their back,” Parks said of his team. “Now it’s time to step up and play, because district is not going to be easy.”
Farmington will go on the road to face No. 8 Kirtland on Thursday in a matchup of 1-0 teams.
Zoey Hooper scored the Lady Bronco goal on an assist from Hanalysa Thompson about 20 minutes into the first half.
Kirtland Central head coach Leonel Comacho hopes this win will motivate his team as their focus shifts to the Lady Scorpions.
“It’s hard to get girls to believe, but a win like this puts us in a good place mentally,” Comacho said. “We can’t look past anybody, because our district is tough. None of us should be left out of the state tournament. We just want to go ahead and solidify our place, and beating Farmington at home would be a big step for us.”
PV head coach Shaun Taylor said his team needs to regain focus ahead of a big match against the Lady TIgers.
“I think we just assumed Kirtland would hand the game to us on a silver platter,” Taylor said. “It just shows there are no easy games. Every game is important and my girls missed that point tonight. The next game with Aztec is of the utmost importance with Aztec having lost. No team can afford to lose now. Whoever loses Thursday night is going to be in trouble.”
Sports editor John Livingston contributed to this report.