FARMINGTON — The District 1-4A girls' soccer is set to get underway on Tuesday and each team is expecting a six-game battle from start to finish.
The district is, again, one of the deepest and strongest in the state, featuring four of the top seven ranked teams in 4A.
The action begins with No. 4 Farmington at No. 2 Aztec and No. 6 Kirtland Central visiting No. 7 Piedra Vista.
The Lady Tigers are looking to rebound from their first loss on the season at the hand of No. 1 St. Pius X while the Lady Scorps enter on a high note after defeating 4A defending champion Albuquerque Academy and 3A/A defending champion Sandia Prep last week.
Each team knows how important it is to get off to a fast start within district play with so many difficult games on the horizon.
"It's extremely important for any team in our district to have a good start," said Aztec head coach Stephen Parks. "It's so tough every game."
The Lady Tigers are eyeing a top four seed in the state playoffs and the bye that accompanies it, and Parks expects a fight every game against the San Juan County rivals in order to accomplish that.
"We just have to take one game at a time and be prepared and focus every game. No game is easy," Parks said.
Having to play so many difficult games is a benefit for all the teams, Parks said and he expects the competition to get the Lady Tigers ready for the playoffs.
"It's great for us and it puts us in the position to be well prepared for state," he said.
Like Aztec, FHS is also hoping for a top four seed and wants to improve on last year's quarterfinal appearance.
"We just hope to keep improving and we want to make it to at least the semifinals," said FHS forward Hannah Kelley following the win against Academy.
KCHS and PV both advanced to the state quarterfinals last season after winning in the first round.
The Lady Broncos used a strong district performance to earn the No. 6-seed last season and a home playoff game and know a good start will be key this year.
"It's going to set the tone for the rest of our matches," said KCHS head coach Leonel Camacho. "We've got one of the toughest districts in the states. We all deserve to be in the state championships and be in the top 10. I'm proud of all of the teams within the district, and I look forward to playing them."
PV struggled, losing its first five district games and had to open up the playoffs on the road.
Both teams will want to get off to a good start in an attempt to earn a home playoff game in the first round this year.