AZTEC — In the second meeting this season between two of the state's best teams in 5A, the result was the same as the St. Pius X girls soccer team held off Aztec 2-1 Saturday at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.
"I'm very proud of them. It was a great game, an exciting game. We're not going to come out of here and beat them up," Aztec head coach Kelly Kelso said. "It's just one of those things where I think it's a growing process. We're not right where we want to be, but we can see it. It's not way off in the distant future."
The two sides met on Aug. 22, with the Lady Sartans besting Aztec 3-0.
The first half was scoreless with Pius (7-0) and Aztec (5-2) splitting time of possession and scoring opportunities evenly.
"I think we kind of controlled the tempo of the game in the first half," Kelso said. "Up until they got those two goals (in the second half), they were getting a little frustrated. I could tell."
The two Pius goals came early in the second half. Dominique Giannini found the goal about eight minutes in, then Tatiana Limon added another one minute later.
Both goals came on mistakes by the Aztec defense.
"We had a mental lapse for a little bit and it cost us," Kelso said of the two goals.
Aztec's Alycea Aviles scored with 12 minutes left to give the Lady Tigers life late in the match, and they got a few more opportunities failed to but convert for another goal.
"We rotate more players than they do, and I think they were starting to wear down," Kelso said. "I think if we pick up the pace a little more the next time we face them, we'll take advantage of that. Hopefully, that's the state championship game."
Aztec will be back on the field Thursday, taking on Centennial (5-2) at the Albuquerque Academy tournament.
Piedra Vista 11, Grants 1
Piedra Vista (4-2) came out on fire and dominated Grants (4-2) in an 11-1 victory at the Piedra Vista soccer fields Saturday.
"They came out with a lot of intensity and focus from the get-go," PV head coach Adam Huff said. "Our first goal came 40 seconds into the game, so that kind of set the tone. They did a good job with the things we've been working on in practice, corner kicks and better passing and possessions, so that's nice to see."
On a throw-in, senior Hayden Carpenter put the ball in the back of the net for PV's first goal.
Lexi Atencio and Marissa Griego each scored two goals in the win.
The Lady Panthers are coming to the end of a six-game stretch in which they hoped to finish no worse than 5-1. Right now, PV is 3-1 with the fifth and sixth games coming up Friday and Saturday when the Lady Panthers host Valley (1-3) and Del Norte (1-3). The loss came against Hope Christian on Thursday.
"We were able to bounce back after Thursday's game, and this sets us up for the Valley game on Friday and a chance to finish this six-game stretch at 5-1," Huff said. "Then we head into the St. Pius and Farmington games. We want to show everyone that we can compete with them."