A year ago, the Aztec Lady Tigers watched helplessly on the sidelines of Piedra Vista’s field as the Farmington Lady Scorpions beat PV to secure a district title.
This year’s team made sure to take matters into their own hands.
Aztec (19-2 overall, 5-1 District 1-4A) secured the district championship with a 2-0 win at Kirtland Central (14-6, 3-3).
“It feels really great to be right where you want to be going into state,” said Aztec head coach Stephen Parks. “Kirtland had to play great, too, and it was a tough match, but I felt like we played well all game.”
Both Aztec goals came in the first half as Hailey Morris connected with a Kassia Barber cross to score just nine minutes into the game. Jessica Kresl buried another goal minutes later.
“Morris’ goal was one of the best goals all season and Kresl’s was really nice, too,” Parks said.
Since losing the first district game of the year at Farmington, Aztec went on a hot streak and finished the last five games undefeated in district.
“That Farmington game shocked us. We didn’t expect Farmington to be as good as they were,” said Aztec senior captain Tyra Gabehart. “They shocked us a bit, but it made us play harder.
“Going out with this district title is awesome. It seemed like the only thing to do was end senior year with a bang.”
Kirtland Central finished in third place in the district.
Farmington (10-11, 3-3) took second place despite losing 2-1 to Piedra Vista (10-9, 1-5) in overtime Thursday. The Lady Scorpions had the goal differential advantage on Kirtland to send the Lady Broncos to third place.
After not winning in nearly a month, the 2-1 win was key for Piedra Vista’s playoff hopes Thursday.
Farmington scored first in the game on a Payton Sandoval goal, but Jade Santillanes scored the equalizer for PV in the second half and Erica Briseno scored in overtime to give the Lady Panthers their first and only district win.
Despite, PV’s late-season struggles, Parks still believes every District 1-4A team should be in the field of 12 in the state tournament.
“Looking at all the teams in the state, I can’t see them not putting all four of us in,” Parks said. “I don’t know if they will take a fourth place team in our district over a second place team in another, but I really believe we all belong there.”
With only two losses all year, Aztec has a firm argument as the best team in the state.
“We lost to Albuquerque Academy in overtime, but both teams played really well. We have learned to finish better since then and I think we are more mature than we were then,” Gabehart said. “Whoever we see, we will definitely have confidence and we believe we have a really good opportunity to win state. That has been the goal all season.”