By Arnie Leshin
It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, Sept. 4, 2015, when St. Michael’s girl’s soccer team traveled to play Sandia Prep in Albuquerque. They returned with a 2-1 win, and that’s when it became all zeroes.
All zeroes the next five times the Lady Horsemen went up against the Sundevils, a program that has won eight state championships and was runner-up six times. They have hoisted the last three championship trophies.
Three times last season, it was 1-0, 1-0, 1-0, home and away and in the state final played in Bernalillo that St. Michael’s lost to Sandia Prep, In 2017, it home and away setbacks, 3-0, and 2-0.
In 2016, they did not meet on the pitch, and so it’s been five years since the Lady Horsemen, under then head coach Guzman Chavez, came out ahead of their District 2-3A rival Sundevils.
In 2006, when Ed Velie was head coach, St. Michael’s went down 2-0 against Sandia Prep in the state final. But in 2007 and 2009, Velie’s teams won 1-0 and 3-2, respectively, to win the title versus the Sundevils.
And now new head coach Maggie Feil meets up with top-ranked Sandia Prep for the first time Thursday when the Lady Horsemen bus down I-25 road south to Albuquerque.
This follows after her team got past visiting Albuquerque Bosque Charter School, 3-2, last week, in a repeat of the 3-2 win over 2-3A rival Bobcats in last year’s state semifinals when Anthony Casados was head coach.
Prior to this, St. Michael’s plays host Tuesday to district foe Robertson (7-4-1), while Sandia Prep greets district rival Bosque the same day.
As for the Sundevils, they don’t miss a beat. They beat their own drums, assuring a winning record every campaign. They are currently 10-1, while St. Michael’s, after back-to-back district wins over Santa Fe Indian School (11-0), and Bosque, is 11-2.
Prep stocks up, makes sure that undergraduates return the following season.
Back for her fifth season is senior goalkeeper Samantha Jeffries. She has allowed only six goals at this time. Co-captain and middle fielder Lauren Biddle is now a senior and playing her fourth season. Then there’s senior co-captain defender Austin Tackharr in her fourth campaign.
To defeat this team, the Lady Horsemen have got to contain Biddle and Tackharr and get the ball past Jeffries.
Presently, Sandia Prep and St. Michael’s are 2-0 in district, with the lone Sundevil loss, 2-1 to Albuquerque Hope Christian, after they defeated the Huskies by the same score. The St. Michael’s losses were on the road, 4-0 at Albuquerque St. Pius and 4-3 at Socorro.
Prep has six shutouts, the Lady Horsemen have seven. Prep has scored 37 goals and allowed six. The Lady Horsemen have scored 73 and yielded 15.