FARMINGTON— Unfortunately for the Lady Tigers, St. Pius X continued its winning streak and came away with a 4-2 victory in the tournament's final game Saturday afternoon at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.
"We came into this wanting a game against St. Pius to see where we're at," said Aztec head coach Stephen Parks. "It's good to play them this early in the season because it gives us a really good idea of where we can go from here. Yeah, it's a tough loss, but we can still go on from here."
St. Pius controlled the ball for the majority of the first half, but the Lady Tigers were able to find a few opportunities as senior forward Hailey Morris' speed got her behind the Lady Sartan defense where she drew a penalty on a shot from the right edge of the 18-yard box in the 13th minute.
Rikki Newland stepped up for the Lady Tigers and put the penalty kick perfectly into the lower left corner, sneaking past the outreached hands of St. Pius goalkeeper Tatiana Sarracino.
Down 2-0, St. Pius came out in the second half and showed why the Lady Sartans are ranked in the top 30 in the country.
In the 45th minute, senior Maddie Waszak gathered the ball inside the 18-yard box and sent in a strike off her right foot for the Lady Sartans first goal.
St. Pius added another goal in the 46th minute when Aztec keeper Elana Kresl came out of goal, missing her clearance, allowing St. Pius senior Samantha Afonso to send her shot to the far post, for the equalizer.
With the score tied, the two teams kept the battle in the midfield, until the 59th minute when the Lady Sartans struck again.
St. Pius took possession near midfield and pushed the ball down the right side before sending a cross to the far post where Vanessa Hernandez gained control of the ball for a split second before putting it in goal to give the Lady Sartans a 3-2 lead.
In the next minute, St. Pius converted on a nearly identical setup. Aztec gave up possession in the midfield, allowing St. Pius to push the ball down the right side and send another cross to the far post where Hernandez put it in to lock up the match.
"I feel like we stopped doing the things that made us successful in the first half. We kind of quit punching the ball up there like we did in the first half. I think we were trying to make good passes and do all the things we were supposed to do, we just weren't capitalizing on the opportunities."
Before Aztec and St. Pius met in the championship, both the Piedra Vista and Kirtland Central girls soccer teams earned shutout wins in the consolation round.
Kirtland Central senior striker Deena Charley showed why she is one of the best in the district, recording a hat trick and adding an assist for the Lady Broncos en route to a 6-0 win over Santa Fe Indian.
The Lady Broncos controlled the game from start to finish, dominating the time of possession and holding the Lady Braves to just two shots on goal compared to their 35.
"We're proud of the girls and how they played this weekend. We're a young team," said Kirtland Central head coach Lionel Camacho. "We've got to get ready for the district. We have last year's 3A state champions Hope Christian and runner up Sandia Prep in our district, and this weekend was a good start to get us ready."
Facing off against Miyamura, PV's attack kept the Lady Patriots under constant pressure, wearing down the defense to earn a 4-0 victory.
"We controlled the possession in the first half but didn't really break though until there were about five minutes left in the first half," said Piedra Vista head coach Adam Huff. "Marissa Griego snuck in and got a steal on what was really a hustle play in final minutes and got the first goal for us."
In the second half, Piedra Vista's pressure began to take its toll on Miyamura, as the Lady Panthers added three goals.
Eighth-grader Madison Cross, senior Jenna Brown and sophomore Makeyan Kalmback all scored for PV in the second half.
"We know that if we're aggressive we'll be able to keep with a lot of the teams, so we need to work on that, just being more aggressive," Huff said. "There are a few other things that we need to work on but we found a lineup that works pretty well and we're going to stick with it. Hopefully it continues to work for us."