FARMINGTON — Its best match of the District 1-6A season still didn't end in a win for the Piedra Vista boys soccer team today, but the Panthers are getting closer.
PV (6-11-1, 0-6) hung tight with Cleveland for most of the day at the Piedra Vista soccer fields, but lost 5-3 in a game the Panthers never led.
Still, PV coach Carlos Yllescas said his team played its best all-around game since the district schedule kicked off on Sept. 24.
"It was a good, quality game," Yllescas said. "We marked, we scored — we had been struggling to score in 6A. And we had a good balance on defense. We played good."
Cleveland (15-4, 4-3) scored five minutes into the game, but PV's Victor Alba responded quickly with a floater goal from inside the box a minute later. The Storm retook the lead 15 minutes later, but again, Alba was there in the box to clean up a rebound opportunity and retie the game at 2.
On a hard shot that deflected off a PV defender at the 9:01 mark of the first half, Cleveland broke another tie with a goal. The Storm then scored a few minutes into the second half to go up 4-2.
Still, Yllescas' squad kept fighting.
Angel Flores was wrestled down in the box before capitalizing on a penalty-kick goal to make it 5-3 with 25 minutes remaining in the game.
Ahead 4-3, Cleveland had multiple opportunities to score off set pieces and corner kicks, but the Panther defense stood tall and didn't allow many of those free kicks to even reach the goaltender. The time of possession was also very even throughout.
Yllescas said defense was his emphasis at practice this week.
"We've focused a lot on denying giving any space to this team," Yllescas said. "You give Cleveland space and they will score, so we wanted to pressure them, and we did that."
Cleveland's JJ Barreras scored inside the game's final minute on one of PV's rare defensive breakdowns in the game — Barreras was left uncovered in the box on a cross and was able to finish.
The Panthers try to break a seven-game losing skid at Volcano Vista on Thursday. The Hawks (11-3-1, 5-0) shut PV out 4-0 when the teams played on Oct. 1.
Kirtland Central 6, Rehoboth Christian 2
Marco Camacho scored a hat trick as Kirtland Central zoomed past 4A's Rehoboth Christian 6-2 today on the road.
The Broncos (7-8, 3-5 District 1-5A) were a little sluggish to start, but KC picked it up after halftime, according to coach Noel Camacho.
"They started playing together, really pressuring the ball and winning those 50-50 balls that they didn't always get in the first half," Camacho said.
Isaiah Goodson also had a big day with two goals. Anesio Villegas found the back of the net as well against Rehoboth (9-9, 1-2).
Following an 8-0 loss to Farmington last week, coach Camacho challenged his team to win the rest of its games and finish above .500. He said he warned his players about suffering a letdown versus Bloomfield (2-15-1, 2-6) on Tuesday.
"You know, just because we beat that team before, and they've had some losses, doesn't really mean anything," Camacho said. "They've got some dangerous players, and we've got to come out ready to take care of business."
KC tamed the Bobcats 5-1 on Sept. 29.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.