La Cueva blanks Academy, 2-0
On a normal day, La Cueva’s girls soccer team is a handful for most anybody in the state.
On a day when it was playing without the second-leading scorer in Class 5A, Albuquerque Academy didn’t have enough firepower to keep up. Despite a valiant effort from the Chargers, the Bears controlled the game with precise passing and possession to take a 2-0 victory at Richard A. Harper Memorial Field on Saturday morning.
La Cueva got on the board early when Senna Garcia took a pass from Jayde Talbot inside the box and shot the ball past Academy freshman Lorelei Logan for a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute.
The Bears (6-1) took advantage of a more aggressive Charger team early in the second half when Kenzie Griego found the net from about 35 yards out in the 50th minute to provide the final margin. Talbot again assisted on the play.
Ball movement was a theme throughout, especially in the first half, when the Bears attacked Logan repeatedly. All told, La Cueva outshot Academy by a 12-to-4 margin.
“I thought my team passed the ball really well. We had some really good combination plays,” La Cueva coach Amber Ashcraft said. “We had a bunch of shots on goal. We held pretty well. They came at us with a lot of speed at my defense and gave my defense an opportunity to really get into a game.”
Still, Academy (8-3) was missing one of its fastest — and most prolific — players in Eliza Mariner, who was out of town to attend a family wedding. The junior scored more than 30 goals last year and has 24 so far this season.
“She’s a difference maker. She puts defenses under a lot of trouble and she’s a good finisher,” Academy coach Peter Glidden said. “It definitely doesn’t help not to have a player like that. We had a lot of good chances today. We had opportunities. If anything, it makes our team play a bit more possession rather than trying to rely on the long ball.
“I was really proud of the way the girls competed. It wasn’t our best game of the year, but they stuck with it and they hit the post a couple times in the second half.”
Academy’s best scoring chances came in the second half. Rhiannon Hill fired a rocket from the right side of the box that La Cueva goalie Kat Robinson was able to deflect out of bounds in the 52nd minute, and in the 72nd minute, Erin Pickett just missed getting a free kick over Robinson’s arms. A few minutes later, Tessa Anderson was able to dribble through the Bears defense only to have her shot denied at the goal.
“I played my four back the entire game, and we just stayed on our game,” Ashcraft said. “We played calm and tried to be collected. They had a couple of really good shots on goal.”