BLOOMFIELD >> The Bloomfield Bobcats have gone through a year of heartbreak, but a big win Saturday alleviated all of their pain.
Bloomfield missed a chance to earn its first playoff win since 2009 a year ago when an own-goal cost the Bobcats in the Round of 12 in the Class A-3A state playoffs against Rehoboth Christian. The No. 7 Bobcats (15-6) made sure they wouldn't suffer a similar fate on Saturday as they won at home 3-0 against No. 10 Hatch Valley (8-10).
"This win feels great. We had a chance last year and scored on ourselves to lose. That hurt, and I have been telling these guys how much it hurt and to ask the older guys how much it hurt if they weren't there," said Bloomfield head coach Jarly Lopez.
It didn't take Bloomfield long to score a goal in its opponent's net. Samuel Gutierrez scored less than 15 minutes into the game when he put back a rebound off the Hatch Valley goalkeeper following a Micah Bachert shot on goal.
"When Samuel got that goal that early, the spirit went up and everyone relaxed," Lopez said. "We came out too nervous and tight to start. After that goal, everyone exhaled and put it all together."
Five minutes after the Gutierrez goal, Raul Fonseca scored another goal as he poked the ball into the right corner of the goal from just left of the goal. It was Raul Fonseca's 26th goal of the season, which leads all of Class A-3A.
"It felt great. I can't even explain it," Raul Fonseca said of the win. "We had to win this game this year, and it feels so good to do it."
A few minutes later, Edgar Fonseca scored on a penalty kick to give Bloomfield a 3-0 lead that would stand up as the final.
The two teams played a back-and-forth second half, with Bloomfield narrowly missing a chance to add a few more goals.
Bloomfield's defense and midfield locked down the Hatch Valley forwards. Bloomfield's Gage Kreilick was in charge of locking down talented Hatch Valley forward Joel Pavia, and he had no problem shutting Pavia down.
"We wanted to lock it up at midfield. (Pavia) is one of the top scorers in the state, and we put our strongest defender on him. Gage (Kreilick) matched up really well and did an outstanding job," Lopez said.
Hatch Valley head coach Eligio Gonzalez credited Bloomfield's defense for playing tough and not letting his Bears team back into the game in the second half.
"Bloomfield played hard and tough. We had some defensive errors in the first half, but Bloomfield pushed us back and played smart defense when we tried to push up and get some more shots," Gonzalez said.
Hatch Valley took 12 shots, but only managed to get five on goal. Bloomfield goalkeeper Ariel Morales had no problem saving all five on goal.
The win was Bloomfield's first since a 1-0 win against Robertson in the Round of 12 in 2009.
The Bobcats will face No. 2 Bosque (17-3) in the state quarterfinals on Thursday in Albuquerque. Bosque beat the Bobcats 2-1 on Aug. 31 this season.
"We have been talking about this game since we lost to Bosque the first time and lost with a minute and a half left in the game. These guys are ready for it," Lopez said. "They are ready to go down there and prove themselves. I think we will do a pretty good job representing this corner of our state."
No. 11 Piedra Vista 2, No. 6 Los Alamos 1, PKs
Peyton Pigford was clutch when it mattered most on Saturday as she helped send the No. 11 Piedra Vista Lady Panthers to the state quarterfinals.
Pigford, a senior captain, connected on a 35-yard free kick from the left side of the field late in the second half of a 4A state tournament Round of 12 game at No. 6 Los Alamos to tie the game 1-1. After PV (11-11) and Los Alamos (10-12) played through a scoreless overtime, Pigford delivered the game winning penalty kick in a sudden-death shootout to give PV a 2-1 win.
"It felt amazing to finish up my senior year with that. I just went up and put a strike on the ball and was lucky enough to be the one to put it in the net," Pigford said. "I couldn't ask for a better experience with this group of girls."
PV interim coach Ryan Mussett called his team's comeback a "miracle on turf."
"It was absolutely awesome. We stuck it out through the whole game and overtime to get in a big shootout. It was a big day for Pigford, especially with her being a senior," Mussett said.
PV lost 4-0 to Los Alamos just two weeks ago. To win when it mattered most in the state tournament was a big reward.
"It is pretty extraordinary. I told the girls when we got to the field, 'If you already have it in your head we are going to lose, then don't get off the bus.' That wasn't the case at all. They all came in and played hard and believed it was possible," Mussett said.
PV will face No. 3 Aztec on Thursday in the 4A state quarterfinals in Albuquerque. PV is 0-2 this year against Aztec, losing both games 2-1.
"The girls know it can be done. We just have to believe," Mussett said.
Bosque 3, Bloomfield 0
Bloomfield's season came to an end on Saturday with a 3-0 playoff loss to Bosque.
The No. 12 Lady Bobcats (9-12) fell to No. 5 Bosque (11-9) in the Round of 12 of the Class A-3A state tournament.
Bloomfield will return 17 players from its varsity roster next season, and first-year head coach Kate Dunlap hopes her team can make a deeper run in the state tournament in her second season with the team.
"This year really helped the girls realize they have the potential to be out there. We need to keep working on the fundamental skills of soccer and passing the ball, but hopefully we hone those skills in the offseason and come back stronger," Dunlap said.