The Cibola goalkeeper kept this first-half corner kick from going into his net, but Cleveland’s Christian Dapolito beat him in the second half in the Storm boys’ important 1-0 victory at Cibola. (Gary Herron/Observer)
The teams are only three games into their eight-team district slates, and both have big games looming Saturday. But for now, this will do fine.
Cleveland boys 1, Cibola 0: Christian Dapolito saw the Cougars’ goalkeeper stop him twice at close range in the first half, but that didn’t happen in the decisive second half, as his unassisted tally in the 46th minute turned out to be all the scoring in this district contest on Cibola’s turf.
Joaquin Armijo didn’t have much to do in front of the Storm’s goal, thanks to his defenders. It’s his team’s seventh shutout of the season.
“That was a lot better (effort) defensively,” said Storm coach Shaun Gill. “We’ve been working on that, actually.
“All-around, I think we controlled most of the game and were able to close it out, maintain the 1-0 lead and finish the game. … Overall, I’m proud of the boys. They played hard,” he said. “They executed some of the stuff we worked on it practice, which is always fun to see.”
The Cougars slipped to 4-9 overall and are winless after two district games.
The Storm bettered their mark to 8-6-1, 1-2.
Cleveland girls 4, Cibola 2: Matching their best start in school history, a 12-0-1 record in the 2016 season, the No. 1 Storm never trailed in their Wednesday evening game at Lightning Bolt Stadium.
Kiana Jamerson, Sienna Salazar, Taylor Williamson and Maleah Quinones found the back of the net for Cleveland.
“Our district is just insane,” Storm coach Greg Rusk said. “There’s never a gimme. (Fourth-ranked) Cibola’s a very good team, and I’m proud of the girls.”
At halftime, Rusk said he told his team – referring to their 3-2 lead – “Let’s make sure that stays a 2 on their side.”
“This team has fabulous balance, between the offense and defense,” Rusk said, when asked if the Storm could get back to the championship game, as it had done in 2017.
“We’re strong on both sides, so t the answer is, ‘Yeah, we can make it there, but we have to make it through our district first.’”
The Storm boys play at No. 1 Volcano Vista Saturday at 11 a.m.
The No. 1 Storm girls play host to Volcano Vista Saturday, also at 11.
The second half of the 1-5A slate begins Oct. 8, with the CHS girls at Rio Rancho and the Rams boys at Cleveland, with both games starting at 11 a.m.