Match against the Bears is scheduled for a 4 o’clock start, with the Lady Horsemen riding a 14-6 overall record
By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today
It is St. Michael’s girls playing host to Hatch Valley in Friday afternoon’s opening round of the state 4A tournament, and head coach Gerzain Chavez admitted he knows very little about the 11th seeded Bears.
“To us, it’s just one match at a time,” he said. “We have played a tough schedule, are healthy, and prepared.”
The Lady Horsemen have indeed played a tough regular-season slate and probably deserve a higher seed than No. 6. They lost twice to top-seed, undefeated Santa Fe Prep, trailing 4-0 at halftime and closing to within 5-3. In the second match, they dominated until the Griffins scored late for a 2-1win.
They lost 1-0 at 3rd seeded Albuquerque Bosque School, 2-0 at home to 3rd seeded Albuquerque Sandia Prep, won 3-2 at home against 4th seeded Socorro, won twice versus 7th seeded Taos and 10th seeded Las Vegas Robertson, and 5-1 over 9th seeded Portales.
That’s a tough grind, but it does make Chavez’ team tournament-tough. This is a low seed for St. Michael’s after losing in last year’s state semifinals to
Albuquerque Hope Christian after back-to-back setbacks to the Huskies in the finals.
The Lady Horsemen won six of their last seven, and this included four-straight shutouts and outscoring their opponents, 44-4, with the lone defeat to the Griffins.
They are 14-6 overall and Hatch Valley comes in at 9-9. A win advances them to the Nov. 2 quarterfinals against Sandia Prep at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex. They are also in the same bracket as Taos, Robertson, and Bosque.
“Our leading scorer is Daisy Smith, our only sophomore,” Chavez said. “I think she’s scored about 20 goals, three more than senior Tiana Baca. Daisy is playing different parts of the field. My daughter, Maya, is at full strength after recovering from a broken wrist.”
He added that freshman Frances Schneider is recovering from an ankle injury and will not play Friday, but will be back next week. Then there’s junior Claire Lee, who he credits with being the team’s top wing, as well as freshman Rachel Morgan who was promoted from the junior varsity and has been impressive.
“With little varsity experience, Rachel has done well,” he said, “while playing in five games. Senior Kayli Nordby has only played soccer for three years and has gotten into three games. Senior Christian Morrison has done real well, and senior Cate Burke has been one of our best defenders.”
Along with Chavez, the other coaches, Bill Schneider and Judd Keene, also have daughters on the team, as does athletic trainer Mary Anne Burke. Keene is an 8th-grader and one of the backup goalies along with junior Alice Pittard and senior starter Megan Burnham.
Burnham, Baca and Maya Chavez are the tri-captains. The roster has eight seniors, four juniors, one sophomore, four freshmen and two 8th-graders.
The Santa Fe Prep girls are in the upper bracket with Moriarty, Portales, Hope Christian, Navajo Prep and Socorro.
With a first-round bye, the Griffins play the Moriarty-Portales winner in the quarters. Sandia Prep is the defending champion having defeated Hope Christian in the final.