AZTEC — The Aztec girls soccer team gained an early advantage in district play with a win in its opener.
The Lady Tigers defeated Farmington High 2-1 on Tuesday at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex on goals from Kayli Farmer and Rikki Newland.
"We had to come out and control the ball," said Aztec head coach Stephen Parks. "We came out and executed."
The first half went back and forth with each team creating scoring chances.
The Lady Scorpions (8-6, 0-1 District 1-4A) opened the scoring 17 minutes into the contest on a goal by Hannah Kelley.
"Farmington's offense revolves around Hannah," Parks said. "It's tough, but you have to limit her chances."
Aztec (13-1, 1-0) responded quickly, however, tying the score two minutes later on Farmer's goal.
"It's always nice to get a goal right after they score, because it takes their confidence away," Farmer said. "We know that we can get down there and score."
FHS head coach Shannon Gill thought Aztec's immediate answer to the Lady Scorps' goal was crucial for the Lady Tigers in taking control of the game.
"That was huge for them to even it up," Gill said. "They kind of took control of the game. We allowed them to play and didn't dictate the pace."
FHS outshot the Lady Tigers 6-3 in the tightly contested first half, but Aztec adjusted in the second half, dominating possession and outshooting the Lady Scorps 11-4.
"They knocked us out of our rhythm, and in the second half, they seemed to be beating us to every ball," Gill said. "When they get that many chances, you can't stop them all.
Aztec finally scored the game-winning goal with 12 minutes remaining, when Newland's free kick from about 35 yards away snuck past FHS goalkeeper Bailey Carter.
"I didn't even know it went in," Newland said. "I just saw everybody celebrate. It's so nice to start the district like this."
Parks thought the defense played better in the second half, which allowed the offense to create more chances.
"Our defense played the way we were supposed to," Parks said. "We held our shape and were successful."
Both teams will continue the district season on Thursday with Aztec playing at home against Piedra Vista and FHS hosting Kirtland Central.
Piedra Vista 2, Kirtland Central 1 OTThe Lady Panthers started their district season with a critical win against the Lady Broncos at home on Tuesday.
"It's important for the girls to win that first district game. Everything is still looking positive going forward," said PV coach Ryan Mussett.
Kirtland (10-4, 0-1) opened the scoring with a first half goal from Deena Charley, giving the Lady Broncos a 1-0 lead at halftime.
PV (8-5, 1-0) responded in the second half with a goal to tie the game and force overtime.
Jade Santillanes evened the score on a rebound for the Lady Panthers after a free kick by Peyton Pigford hit the cross bar with about 20 left in regulation.
Bailey Roady then scored the game-winner in overtime on a deflected cross from Megan Roth about seven minutes into overtime.
"I'll make some adjustments. This district is extremely tough. It worries me that if we don't get a win that we won't make (the playoff)," said KCHS head coach Leonel Camacho.