By Arnie Leshin
There have been some rough roads along the way, but right now St. Michael’s boy’s soccer team is on the right path.
Under fourth-year head coach Mike Feldewert, the Horsemen are 11-5-1 overall and 6-1 in the new District 2-A/3A that includes the likes of 18 state-champion Albuquerque Sandia Prep, Albuquerque Bosque Charter School and Santa Fe Prep with two each, and an up-and-coming Robertson, which has yet to win state on the pitch, but this could be its year.
While the Cardinals are 10-3 overall and 4-1 in district, they have also won four-straight. Sandia Prep is not haven’t one of its better seasons and is at 8-7 overall and 4-1 in district, Bosque is 3-3 in district and 9-7 overall, and Santa Fe Prep is having a down year at 2-11 and 1-6.
And so St. Michael’s is in quest of its first-ever state championship, with its last time in the finals coming in 2004, as head coach Mark Miller accomplished this four times in a row, but was defeated each time by Sandia Prep.
But there’s no time like now. The Horsemen are playing their best soccer. They have only four seniors, one of which is goalkeeper Isaiah Vigil, and Feldewert said they are a strong four.
“This is Isaiah’s second season in goal,” said Feldewert, “and he’s just been outstanding, He’s at 6-feet, is quick, durable and strong. He actually became a starter toward the end of his sopShomore season, and has gotten better each time.”
The other seniors are Hayden Lee, Justice Johnson, and Berkely Reynolds, and along with Vigil and junior Wesley Graham, serve as co-captains.
Then there’s junior John Morrison, whose dad, John, was head baseball coach at Capital and Santa Fe High. Junior is also on the baseball team, but for now he’s been an asset to the soccer squad.
“This is John’s second season as a starter”, Feldewert said, “and I’ve got him at outside back, and he’s just been very good. Playing that position, he hasn’t scored much, but he did come away with a goal and four assists in the recent win over Oak Grove.”
That was a 10-0 rout for the Horsemen and 10 players scored. It was a chance for Feldewert to let everyone play and even score.
“We’ve made no mistakes,” he said, “and had one wake-up call in a 2-1 loss to Pojoaque at the Taos tournament. We didn’t play well, even missed a penalty shot, but beat them 5-1 the next time. We learned from that loss.”
Since the defeat to the Elks, it has been smooth sailing for St. Michael’s, which still has Bosque, Robertson and Sandia Prep on its schedule. It lost 2-1 previously to the Cardinals, but defeated Bosque and Sandia Prep. It also swept both games versus Santa Fe Prep.
“We split with Santa Fe High,” Feldewert said. “They beat us 2-1 in the opener and we won 3-2 the next time. They are a very fast team.”
As for injuries that have haunted the team in recent years, that has not been an obstacle this season.
“Knock wood,” the coach said, “we’ve been very fortunate.”