By Joshua Perry
State soccer seedings were announced on Sunday, and District 1-4A will be well represented in the playoffs.
The New Mexico Activities Association awarded spots to all four girls squads and provided the Farmington boys team a first-round bye as they attempt to defend their title.
The Aztec Lady Tigers (19-2, 5-1 District 1-4A) received the highest seed at No. 3 and will wait to face the winner of No. 6 Kirtland Central and No. 11 Valencia.
"That's kind of where I thought we would end up since that's where we've been ranked all year," said Aztec head coach Stephen Parks. "It's time to get ready and prepared."
The Lady Tigers and Lady Broncos are quite familiar with each other, meeting three times this season with Aztec coming out on top of all three games.
"We know what to look for when it comes to Kirtland, but every game is different," Parks said. "When Kirtland plays Valencia, I'll be out there scouting because it will be my only chance to see Valencia, but my guess is coach (Leonel) Camacho will have his team ready, and Kirtland will come out on top."
The No. 6 Lady Broncos (14-6, 3-3) will get a shot at revenge against the No. 11 Lady Jaguars (12-6, 7-3 District 6-4A), after falling to them 3-0 earlier in the season.
Camacho expects his team to be more focused this time against Valencia.
"We had just come off a six-game win streak, and when we approached that
Camacho is making sure his team doesn't overlook Valencia, but would love another chance to beat Aztec.
"We would definitely like to beat them, and I think we have the potential to beat them," he said.
Farmington earned the No. 5 seed and will open play against No. 12 Roswell.
The Lady Scorps (10-11, 3-3) beat the Coyotes (6-13, 3-1 District 4-4A) 2-0 on Sept. 7.
Piedra Vista gets a fresh start after opening district play with five straight losses as the No. 10 seed against No. 7 Miyamura.
Despite being the lower seed, PV (10-10, 1-5) defeated the Patriots (13-7, 9-1 District 6-4A) twice this season by a combined score of 9-3.
The coaches within the district said all four teams qualifying for state shows just how tough the soccer is in the area.
"We know that we have the toughest district," Parks said. "Typically the other teams don't challenge St. Pius and Albuquerque Academy in their district. All of our teams have been around top seven all year. I'm excited and it says a lot about soccer in the Four Corners."
"I'm really glad PV got in," Camacho said. "They deserve to be in, and it shows just how difficult this district is to play in."
The Farmington boys team will begin the defense of their state championship as the No. 4 seed and will await the winner of No. 5 St. Pius X and No. 12 Miyamura.
The Scorpions (10-6, 4-0) have already defeated the Sartans (11-7-2, 4-2 District 5-4A) this season 3-0 on Sept. 22 and anticipate another meeting against the No. 5 seed.
"We beat them earlier, and know they will come out and take it to us," said Scorps head coach Ryan Atkinson of St. Pius. "We'll be fine against whoever we play, as long as we come out and play with confidence. When we have guys show up to play, we have one of the top teams in the state. I know the guys are hungry to defend the title, and it's my job to get them physically and mentally prepared."
In the 3A bracket, the Bloomfield boys and girls teams qualified as No. 12 seeds.
The boys will open against No. 5 Rehoboth who they lost to 6-0 in the season opener.
"It was our first game, and they had already played in a tournament," said Bobcats head coach Jarly Lopez. "They caught us off guard, and I think we can do better this time."
The Lady Bobcats with play No. 5 Socorro (17-3, 6-0 District 3-3A).
"It's very exciting. We we're hoping to make it in, and that they would consider the difficulty of the schedule we played," said Bloomfield head coach Kelsey Hatch. "We've had some tough times against Socorro. We had a pretty good rivalry with them in the past and hopefully we can spark that again."
First round games will be played at the home field of the high seed. Times for the matches have yet to be determined.
The quarterfinals through the finals will be played at the APS soccer complex in Albuquerque.
PV head coach Shaun Taylor and Lady Scorps head coach Shannon Gill were unavailable for comment by press time.