Local soccer teams ready for state tournament
- Bloomfield looks to recreate the magic that lifted the Lady Bobcats to a first-round win last year.
- Aztec, finally healthy, will host Valencia in a rematch of an early-season match.
- The Farmington boys will travel more than 400 miles to take on No. 6 Santa Teresa on Saturday.
FARMINGTON — The Bloomfield girls soccer team snagged the 12th and final spot in the 5A state tournament and will have to face the fifth-seeded Goddard Lady Rockets in the first round this weekend.
The Lady Bobcats know almost nothing about Goddard. They haven’t seen the Lady Rockets play, live or on film, and they’ve only shared one common opponent — No. 3 Farmington.
“We talked to the Farmington High coach a little bit, and one of our coaches, Jamey (Jones), found an article on them, but we really haven’t been able to find anything else on them,” Bloomfield coach Shannon Nygren said. “It will be a little bit of a blind game.”
Goddard (13-5-1) was awarded the No. 5 seed after finishing first in District 4-5A. The Lady Rockets have outscored opponents 60-22 this year, with a trio of seniors — Bethany Alvarez, Caitlyn Schmidt and Desarae Flores — combining for 41 of the team’s goals.
But this year’s playoff bid isn’t all that much different than last year’s, when Bloomfield (12-8) was awarded the No. 11 seed in the A/4A tournament. The Lady Bobcats traveled to Taos to play the No. 6 team, which they knew very little about. The result was a 1-0 upset win in the second overtime after Vanessa Harris found the back of the net.
Nygren said the Lady Bobcats have talked about the win over Taos, trying to get into the same mindset as a year ago.
“It’s just going to be a matter of us stepping out to play our game, just like we did against Taos last year,” Nygren said. “They’re looking at that (game against Taos), and we’re trying to recreate some of the things we did last year. We’re going to practice indoors (Thursday). Last year, we had to practice indoors because we had such bad weather, and (Thursday) will be an indoor day. Kind of a little ritual carried over from last year.”
Along with the playoff scenario, Bloomfield’s team isn’t all that different from last year’s version. Harris, a junior, is back and has been one of the team’s top players with 16 goals. Also back is Teagan Mosely, who has led Bloomfield in goals the past two seasons — she has 19 this year — and Kara Watchman, who has scored 10 goals this season while splitting time in the midfield and in goal.
The match is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Goddard High School in Roswell.
Valencia at Aztec
The Aztec girls soccer team doesn’t have to look far to find information about its first-round opponent in the 5A state tournament.
On Saturday, the No. 7 Lady Tigers (13-7) will host No. 10 Valencia (11-8-1), a team they beat 2-0 in Aztec back on Sept. 10.
“The first time we played them, I can’t say that they really mounted a major attack on us, but they have a couple of players who are capable of doing that,” Aztec coach Kelly Kelso said. “Obviously, anything can happen in the game. I think they’ll come out with a little more confidence than they had the first time. We’re going to try to make them chase us and wear them down.”
Two of the players Aztec will have to look out for will be Bryana Rubio, who led the Lady Jags with 23 goals, and Savanna Lucero, who netted 10 goals to go with 10 assists.
The match will be the first time in several weeks in which Aztec is at full strength.
The Lady Tigers were victims of a continuous string of injuries during the regular season, and just about every time a player would return from injury, a different player would go down.
“We don’t have any nagging ankle sprains or anything like that, which we dealt with almost all of last year. We’re moving well, their fitness is good and we’ll have 20 girls on the roster for state, which will allow us to do some different things and give some of the starters a little rest,” Kelso said. “I’m really excited about this year. The girls are motivated, and we’re having fun. It feels like everything is going in the right direction.”
The match is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start Saturday at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.
Farmington at Santa Teresa
The Farmington boys soccer team doesn’t know a whole lot about Santa Teresa, but the Scorps will have plenty of time to think about their match with the Desert Warriors when they make the 443-mile trip from FHS to STHS for their first-round tilt in the boys 5A state tournament.
The Scorps won their 11th straight district title this year, but an up-and-down season plagued by injuries led to a 2-8 record in nondistrict games. But now Farmington (11-8-1) is healthy and will field three of the state’s top goal scorers — Yosmar Ruiz (32 goals), Ned Merrion (20) and Joey Rodriguez (17) — that have paced the Scorps to a state-best 101 goals this season.
The Desert Warriors (13-5-2) don’t boast the attack Farmington does, but they do field one of the top defenses in the state, only allowing 18 goals all season.
Offensively, Emiliano Cardona led Santa Teresa. According to MaxPreps, the senior scored 17 goals, the only Desert Warriors player to record double-digits goals, and handed out a team-high seven assists.
Farmington coach Byron Farnsworth could not be reached for comment.
The match is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at STHS.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.