Aztec strikes twice in second half to top Los Lunas 2-0
AZTEC — An offensive halftime adjustment was all the Aztec girls soccer team needed to get on track and pick up a win on Saturday.
The Lady Tigers (3-1) scored twice in the first eight minutes of the second half, which was more than enough offense to down the Los Lunas Lady Tigers 2-0 at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.
"We had a long talk at halftime about putting more pressure up front and kind of crashing the net more often," Aztec coach Kelly Kelso said.
Senior Kinsey Gomez and junior Ashlyn Bradley scored the two second-half goals for Aztec. The pair of quick strikes came after a scoreless first half in which the hosts failed to generate any kind of offensive rhythm.
"I got frustrated last week (against St. Pius X) because I thought we played too passive. We gave the ball away too much," Kelso said. "So I preached more possession. We didn't do as good of a job as I'd hoped. For some reason against Los Lunas, every time we play them, we always have one half where we just don't play well."
Aztec did put six shots on net in the first half to Los Lunas' three, but none of those shots were significant threats to find the back of the net.
"I don't know what it was; we warmed up well, and we looked good beforehand," Kelso said. "Then we just came out flat to start."
Los Lunas' collective motor played a part in Aztec's slow start, according to Kelso.
"Our midfield hasn't all jelled yet, but also, you have to give Los Lunas credit," he said. "They had a little bit more fire in their belly in the first half than we did. They were challenging us hard for every ball. I think in the second half we just wore them down. We've got a little more speed than they do."
Kelso's strategy to have his team attack the box paid off four minutes into the second half. Gomez came away from a scrum to put a good boot on the ball from the left side of the net and pick up the game's first goal.
Less than four minutes later, Bradley made a good diagonal run into the box to find her teammates putting good pressure on the Los Lunas netminder once again. Bradley got a foot on a loose ball just feet away from the goal and put it home for the score.
"Whenever you're in that close, you just have to get a touch on the ball," Kelso said. "Ashlyn's always really good about directing the ball toward the frame. She's always a really good person to have in that area when the ball's coming in."
Aztec senior netminder Elana Kresl notched the shutout. She stopped all five shots that Los Lunas sent her way.
The Lady Tigers' next tilt will be another home game — they've yet to play on the road — against Kirtland Central (3-2) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Farmington 10, Santa Fe 0
Farmington (4-0) kept rolling at the Taos Tournament, taking care of Santa Fe (1-1) 10-0 and ending the match in the first half.
"The girls played very well," FHS head coach Shannon Gill said. "We enjoy coming to this tournament because it gives us a chance to polish up the things we're working on and come together as a team."
Seven players scored goals, and eight of the 10 goals came with assists. Gill said the team's unselfishness and willingness to pass the ball is huge for the success of the program.
FHS will be off until Thursday when the team travels to Kirtland to take on the Lady Broncos (3-2).
"We're just going to get some rest, then re-evaluate some things we can do to get ready for Thursday," Gill said.
Sports Editor Karl Schneider contributed to this story.