Taos boys soc­cer ad­vances to the quar­ter­fi­nals

The Taos News - - SPORTS - By Sheila Miller sports@taos­news.com The Taos News

The sixth seed Taos boys soc­cer team won its first play­off game against the 11th seed High­land Hor­nets, Al­bu­querque, at home Satur­day (Nov. 3) with a fi­nal score of 2-1.

It was a clear and fair day, but windy. The con­di­tions suited the Hor­nets’ style of lighter, shorter touches on the ball. The Tigers, who are more apt to send the ball long and high and count on their strength and speed to win it when the ball re­turns to earth, were more af­fected by the weather.

Per­haps in part due to the con­di­tions, the first 27 min­utes of the game were played closer to the ground. The Hor­nets ball skills and pref­er­ence to play for pos­ses­sion kept them in the Taos half of the field. With 12:50 left in the half, the Hor­nets took a long shot on goal that passed un­ex­pect­edly through the hands of sopho­more goal­keeper Mis­sael Her­mosillo and gave High­lands a 1-0 lead.

Taos re­turned un­der a minute later with a shot of its own but were de­nied. In the fi­nal five min­utes of the half, the Tigers slowed down, con­trolled the ball and, thanks to a goal by Ai­dan He­flin, en­tered half­time 1-1.

High­land opened the sec­ond half with its de­fend­ers play­ing way up in the hopes of draw­ing the Tiger of­fense off­side. But the Tigers took their time set­ting up the field and for­ward Pa­trick Penso made it a 2-1 game five min­utes af­ter the whis­tle.

Pos­ses­sion bounced back and forth for the re­main­der of the game, but with Her­mosillo’s 10 saves, it was enough for the Tigers to win the ex­cit­ing match.

This vic­tory places Taos in the quar­ter­fi­nals against the Santa Teresa Desert War­riors, whose third seed earned them a bye this week­end. That game is sched­uled for Wed­nes­day (Nov. 7) at 10:30 a.m. in neu­tral ter­ri­tory: the New Mex­ico Tour­na­ment Soc­cer Com­plex, Field 10, in Ber­nalillo. The win­ner heads to the semi­fi­nals the fol­low­ing day, to­day (Nov. 8) at 11 a.m.

Santa Teresa is a young team with only four se­niors on the ros­ter. Their 15-3-2 record in­cludes two com­mon op­po­nents with the Tigers, whose record is now 15-2-1. Both Taos and Santa Teresa beat Hatch Val­ley when they played them in Septem­ber, Taos with a score of 3-2, and Santa Teresa by 2-1. The Desert War­riors beat the 5A Santa Fe High School 4-0 while the Tigers lost to them with the same score.

The Taos Tigers and Santa Teresa have each al­lowed only 19 goals this sea­son. The Desert War­riors with their 73 goals for the sea­son are not as high scor­ing as the Tigers, who have 91.

The state cham­pi­onship game will be played at Ber­nalillo soc­cer com­plex Fri­day (Nov. 9) at 1 p.m.

Mor­gan Timms

Taos' Ben Hast­ings at­tempts to take con­trol of the ball Satur­day (Nov. 4) dur­ing Taos' 2-1 vic­tory against the High­land Hor­nets at Taos Eco Park.

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