In clash of the Jaguars, Capital comes from the toughest district in its class as the 8th seed, and Valencia is No. 12, while Santa Fe Prep is home to Tierra Encanada in 1-4A
By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today
After playing in the toughest boy’s soccer district in 5A, long-time Capital High head coach Eugene Doyle heads into Friday’s opening round of the state tournament with the confidence he always has for his program.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “We’re the eighth seed, and we finished third in our district for the first time in 10 years, but we’re a good team, have lost some tough matches, especially in our district.”
The Jaguars are 12-7-1 and are home Friday against 9th seeded Valencia (8-10-1), also the Jaguars. The winner gets top-seeded Albuquerque Academy in the Nov. 2 quarterfinals at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex.
“Academy, a newcomer to our district, is No. 1,” said Doyle, “and Los Alamos, our long-time district rival, is the fourth seed.”
As for Valencia, Doyle respects the other Jags, and said they are a good team, one his team has played through the years.
“They were in the Roswell tournament,” he said, “we didn’t play them, but we won that tournament for the second year in a row. They also played a tough schedule.”
True, Valencia lost 2-1 at Los Alamos, lost twice to No. 5 Roswell, lost by one to third seeded St. Pius X, lost to No. 7 Chaparral, split with 10th seeded Los Lunas, and lost 2-1 to St. Pius X a second time. So its record might be below .500, but it’s a tournament-tested program.
Said Doyle: “We’re not done yet. We have a lot of sophomores and we usually start four or five of them. We also have some very good seniors. We have a balanced lineup, with plenty of scorers, so that teams can not concentrate on only one or two of our players.”
He added that they lost to Farmington, and when one of his players picked up a red card, played with 10 the rest of the way. He pointed to close matches against Academy, and a pair of tight matches versus Los Alamos.
“I’m feeling very good at this time,” he said, “and my kids are raring to go.”
The seniors on the roster are midfielder Alexis Rodriguez, midfielder/fullback Rodrigo Rodriguez, midfielder/fullback Kevin Reza, goalkeepers Jose Castillo, midfielder/fullback Oscar Martinez, forward/midfielder Samuel Garcia, and fullback/midfielder Erik Diaz.
The other keeper is sophomore Elmer Diaz. Rounding out the roster are juniors Jose Juan Perez and Eric Oquedo, and sophomores Jordan Pacheco, Eduardo Martinez, Jonathan Gonzales, and Alesandro Soto.
Capital won its only state championship in 2014.
In a 1A-4A first rounder, 5th seeded Santa Fe Prep, the defending state champion, is 11-5-2 overall and plays host to No. 12 Tierra Encandada (6-6) of Santa Fe at 4 p.m. Friday. The winner takes on No. 4 Moriarty in the Nov. 2 quarterfinals.
The top seed is Albuquerque Hope Christian (18-2) and No. 2 is Albuquerque Sandia Prep (10-7-3).