Rams freshman Kieara Trujillo-Garcia took a tumble in the second half Thursday, but was uninjured. (Herron photo)
Getting deep into a soccer season isn’t new for the Cleveland High School girls team, it’s just that it’s been a few seasons since that happened – until this summer.
The Storm beat visiting St. Pius X last Saturday afternoon, 3-1, thanks to a pair of goals by junior Sienna Salazar, and turned back visiting St. Pius X, 3-1.
The victory improved the Storm’s mark to 7-0-1, and that includes this season’s APS Metro championship on its résumé
It certainly bodes well for a run through District 1-5A action, which starts Wednesday when the Storm host Rio Rancho at 6 p.m.
The past two seasons haven’t “boded” well for Cleveland, which didn’t qualify for the state tournament in the pandemic-altered 2020 season, nor in 2021, when the Storm finished 9—6-2 and were a disappointing 2-4-2 in district action.
Go back to 2017, when the Storm appeared in their first state championship game, a 2-1 loss to La Cueva in overtime. CHS won its first 11 games, finally falling to Cibola, 1-0. Or in the previous season, when coach Greg Rusk guided his team to its 13th game before suffering a loss.
So this isn’t something new, but rather borrowed and “electric blue” for Rusk.
As usual, he’s unexcitable, not concerned his team has the proverbial target on its back because, he says, “Cleveland’s always had a target on its back in everything.
“It’s nice being Metro champs, but that’s just one of three crowns, so there’s two (district and state) still out there.”
And, yes, the victory over the Sartans was satisfying.
“I think the really nice thing about this match is after a hard week of physical conditioning and working on a lot of technique that we wanted to do, we were able to finally employ it against an opposition that to put up a pretty good fight,” Rusk said. “So we were able to use this week to get back some of the fitness that we kinda lost during the Metro tournament.”
Salazar, who played who freshman year with the Volcano Vista varsity team before her family moved to Rio Rancho, tallied in the game’s 10th minute off a pass from Arissa C’de Baca.
After the Sartans (2-3) tied the game, Arianna Barreras, thanks to an assist from Ella Lent-Koop, gave the Storm the lead to keep, 2-1.
Salazar added an unassisted insurance goal with about four minutes left in the contest.
“It was really fun,” she said. “I think we played a little slower … we didn’t get a lot of shots on goal. With the amount of shots we had (26), we could’ve put more in
“It was a real fun game. I enjoyed it.”
And, as far as making a run through the 1-5A teams, including her old Hawks, Salazar said, “I think we definitely have what it takes.”
The Storm were on the road Saturday morning in Los Alamos.
In addition to their district opener Wednesday, the Storm head south to play at Atrisco Heritage Academy Saturday morning at 11.
Cleveland boys: Hobbs out-shot the Storm 4-2 to determine the winner of the Albuquerque Academy Soccer Invitational last Saturday.
In regulation, Noah Roles scored for CHS in the first half, off an assist from Dominic Aguilar. Hobbs tied the game in the second half, and a penalty-kick shootout resulted in Hobbs taking home the first-place trophy.
Ethan Wingfield scored in each half of the Storm’s 2-0 semifinal victory over Sandia Prep on Sept. 9.
Visiting Bosque fell behind at Cleveland, 4-0, by halftime en route to a 5-0 setback.
Roles and Jack Marshall scored two goals apiece and Brayan Ramirez added a tally.
The Storm (7-3-1) headed to Santa Fe for a Saturday afternoon game.
Cleveland opens the district season Wednesday at 6 at RRHS, then is home Saturday at 11 a.m. to entertain Atrisco Heritage Academy.
Rio Rancho girls: The Rams got a goal from Trinity Romero Tuesday evening in Los Alamos, but came out on the short end of a 2-1 verdict.
The Rams beat Piedra Vista Thursday evening on the strength of Maya Romero and Addisyn Leeds: Leeds scored a first-half goal off a free kick by Romero; Romero scored in the second half on a pass from Leeds.
The 2-0 victory improved the Rams’ record to 6—3-1, prior to a game at St. Pius X Saturday morning.
Rio Rancho visits Cleveland Wednesday at 6.
The Rams’ game with Volcano Vista originally set for Saturday has been moved to 3 p.m. on Friday, with the junior varsity game at 5. RRHS Athletic Director Sal Gonzales said the change was made because of difficulties scheduling officials.
Rio Rancho boys; As a tremendous thunderstorm took place Tuesday evening, with multiple lightning strikes and then heavy rainfall, the Rams’ game with visiting Los Alamos never began; it was unknown at press time if the game will be re-scheduled.
Last Saturday, a round trip to Roswell paid off in a 2-0 Rams victory, with Edgar Alarcon netting both goals.
RRHS (6-2-2) opens 1-5A action Wednesday at 6 when Cleveland visits.
The Rams then head to Volcano Vista Saturday for an 11 a.m. district contest.