FARMINGTON – Once again, San Juan County will be well represented at the boys and girls high school soccer state tournaments.
A total of seven teams — the Farmington boys and girls, the Bloomfield boys and girls, and the Aztec, Piedra Vista and Kirtland Central girls — were selected to complete in their respective state tournament fields.
The FHS girls were rewarded the No. 1 overall seed in the 5A tournament after compiling an 18-2 record.
The Lady Scorps will receive a bye to the quarterfinals, where they’ll face the winner of No. 8 Centennial (14-6) and No. 9 Los Lunas (11-8-1). Centennial and Los Lunas both compete in District 3, and the two squads split the season matches, both by scores of 4-1.
Aztec (13-6) is seeded No. 4 in the 5A tournament and also will receive a bye to the quarterfinals, where the Lady Tigers will face the winner of No. 5 Los Alamos (13-5-2) and No. 12 Belen (10-10-2).
The quarterfinals will be held on Nov. 5 in Albuquerque.
No. 7 PV (11-9) will open play in the tournament at 3 p.m. Friday, hosting No. 10 Valencia (13-5-2).
The Lady Jaguars averaged 2.9 goals per game this season behind a well-balanced attack. Of Valencia's 58 goals scored, 47 have come off assists. A total of seven players have recorded five or more goals with just one player — senior Ashley Rubio — recording double-digit goals with 11.
PV head coach Adam Huff said to combat the Lady Jaguars’ spread-out attack, the Lady Panthers plan to put pressure on the ball.
“I think we have a pretty good defense, and to get through a good defense, you have to put together good passes. If we can put pressure on them, a lot of the time, they won’t be able to make the passes they need to,” Huff said.
In the A/4A tournament, No. 10 Kirltand Central and No. 11 Bloomfield will begin first-round play on the road.
KC (8-12) will play at No. 7 East Mountain (15-5) at 10 a.m. Saturday.
KC head coach Chad Kimball said he wasn’t able to get any video on East Mountain, but he did talk to Socorro’s coach, whose team faced the Lady Timberwolves earlier in the season. East Mountain’s strength is in its defense, and Kimball said the Lady Broncos have been working on new formations to expose East Mountain’s back line.
Key to picking up the road win and advancing to play No. 2 Socorro in the quarterfinals, KC will have to slow down East Mountain’s Yvette Vallejos and Mia Santistevan, who have combined to score 27 of the team’s 54 goals this season.
“We’ve seen all types of teams — those who possess the ball like Hope Christian or those who use their speed like Bloomfield,” Kimball said. “I expect their strikers will have good speed, and we’ll have to try to slow them down.”
Bloomfield will travel to Taos on Friday to face the No. 6 Lady Tigers (12-3) at 4 p.m.
“I haven’t been able to get any film or talk to any coaches about them, but I looked at their stats and videos that have been posted, and I think it will be a good, close match,” Bloomfield head coach Shannon Nygren said. “We’ve had some common opponents and had some pretty similar results and stats. I feel good about the match.”
Nygren said midfielders Bryanna Parrish and Vanessa Harris will be tasked with keeping Cora Cannedy in check after the sophomore torched opponents for 33 goals in just 12 games.
KC and BHS join four other District 1 teams – No. 1 Hope Christian, No. 4 Sandia Prep, No. 5 Bosque and No. 12 Rehoboth Christian – in the tournament. The six District 1 teams make up half of the tournament field.
On the boys side, Farmington was named the No. 4 seed in the 5A tournament and will receive a bye to the quarterfinals, which will also be held Nov. 5 in Albuquerque.
The Scorps (14-4-2) will get the winner of No. 5 Centennial (13-7) and No. 12 Goddard (9-9-1).
Bloomfield (7-13) squeaked into the No. 12 seed in the A/4A tournament and will face fellow District 1-A/4A member Hope Christian Friday at 4 p.m.
With the Bobcats securing the final spot, all five teams from District 1 made the tournament field.
In the two meetings this season, the No. 5 Huskies topped Bloomfield 3-0 and 9-3.
Bloomfield head coach Scott Reid said getting another shot at the Huskies is preferable to facing a team the Bobcats know nothing about.
“We love this matchup. We feel good about this matchup, and, honestly, I’d much rather play a five seed Hope Christian instead of Socorro or Taos,” Reid said. “We’re familiar with Hope. We know them, and they know us. I think if we played a 15-win team that we haven’t seen, and they haven’t seen us, the first 20 to 30 minutes would be us feeling each other out. I think, playing Hope, it will be a much more competitive from start to finish.”
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.