By Arnie Leshin
For Monte del Sol, it could have been sooner than later, but it was worth celebrating Tuesday afternoon’s boy’s soccer match that brought it its first District championship, this one in 1-1A-3A.
It came in a tough 3-1 win over Desert Academy at Alto Park. It was played in a downpour that never let up. Both teams played through the raindrops, the coaches and spectators were drenched, and the Dragons won their ninth straight district match,
Overall, they are 12-3-1 and should get a high seed when the NMAA announces its 12-school field Sunday. As for the Wildcats, they made it tough on their home pitch and hope to also gain the state tournament.
Currently, they are locked in with district rival Questa for the final spot.
As for Monte del Sol, the charter school has put together a successful program in its 16 years on the pitch. In 2013, it made it to the semifinals, and in 2014 lost 3-2 to eventual state champion Albuquerque Sandia Prep in the quarters.
Before being aligned to a new district, the Dragons came close, but never got to hoist the first place trophy against the likes of St. Michael’s, Santa Fe Prep, Robertson, and Taos.
Much like the weather, it was a sloppy start for Desert Academy (6-11-1, 2-7) and it fell behind 2-0, with both goals coming from Pedro Chavez that got past goalkeeper Ryan Harvey. His second was a bicycle kick.
But the Wildcats battled back and senior Sebastian Pearson-Kramer stole a Dragon pass in the backfield and kicked it past keeper Noel Puentes into the left side of the goal. That cut the gap to 2-1 in the 22nd minute.
But Monte del Sol responded. A hard shot from Moises Cerda off a pass from Axel Lozoya was blocked by Harvey, but Luis Gonzales was there to direct it back in in the 45th minute.
It was junior Brandon Quntero’s birthday. His brother, Esteban, had played for Monte del Sol from 2013-16. And Lozoya’s brother, Luis, starred from 2010-13.
And the small school hopes to advance at state after claiming its initial district title. The beat marches on, never losing a step.