ALBUQUERQUE — Avenging a loss at their last state soccer tournament appearance, the 12th-seeded Cleveland High boys defeated No. 5 Albuquerque High 1-0 Tuesday afternoon.
Storm head coach Shaun Gill remembered that 2019 semifinal loss to the Bulldogs, a 3-2 setback in overtime. Tuesday’s starting goalkeeper Joaquin Armijo was a seventh-grader that fall; only current senior Brayan Ramirez was on that ’19 squad.
The Storm had won the 2018 state title and were trying to repeat. AHS went on to finish 21-0 and take the 2019
blue trophy back to Bulldog City.
The only thing they did to repeat was miss the 2020 and ’21 state tournaments.
After a scoreless first half, another Storm veteran, senior Jack Marshall, found the back of the net about 13 minutes into the second half.
Both teams had scoring opportunities after that, but Armijo and the defenders in front of him collared the Bulldogs (13-3-4), the District 5-5A champion.
“Good day. Good day,” Gill said. “We played with a lot of heart, lot of energy, played for each other. Played really good defense.
“We were finally able to capitalize on a couple chances that we weren’t able to do in the last three, four, five games,” he said. “Good win; total team win.”
Gill said that until a few days ago, he didn’t realize AHS had a turf field, which is on the campus’s west side, normally used for football practice; the Bulldogs’ boys’ and girls’ games are usually played on the grass pitch on the east side of the campus.
“I was so happy they went with the playoff turf,” Gill said. “That was their call, and I was so happy for it.”
That’s because most of the Storm’s games, including all their home games, are played on turf, not grass.
Next stop: Hobbs, to play the fourth-seeded Eagles, who received a first-round bye. That quarterfinal game will be played Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
That game’s winner advances to a Nov. 2 semifinal game.