Members of the Storm head back to their half of the pitch after yet another goal in their 7-0 win over Centennial on August 23. From left are Anneliese Prosch, Alexus Guillen (5), who scored three goals in that win; Elle Lent-Koop, Kiranjit Ahluwalia, Taylor Williamson, Ryle Pengelly and Ashlee Pfaff. (Herron photo)
ALBUQUERQUE — It was a glorious night for La Cueva soccer on Friday.
The Bears swept the titles of the Albuquerque Metro Championships at the APS Complex, with the boys defeating Rio Rancho and the girls beating Albuquerque Academy.
BOYS: The Bears continued their impressive early surge this season, edging the Rams 2-1 in the final.
Emari Camu staked La Cueva to a lead in the opening 20 minutes, and it stayed that way until a foul call on the Rams — which they vehemently disagreed with, as it occurred right on the edge of the 18-yard box — led to a penalty kick for the Bears.
At the line, it was Gabriel Ramirez-Orono who finished, supplying La Cueva with a 2-0 lead.
Rio Rancho’s goal was just the second given up by La Cueva this season. Bears goalkeeper Mateo Nobrega saved an initial penalty kick against the Rams’ Sean Meserve, but the ball bounced right back to Meserve, who finished the rebound to cut the La Cueva lead to 2-1.
The Bears preserved the lead and won metros for the first time in six years.
To get to the championship game, La Cueva beat Volcano Vista 3-0 in the semifinals on Wednesday, when Rio Rancho outlasted defending 5A state champion Cleveland in a lengthy and dramatic penalty- kick shootout.
The teams finished regulation and two overtimes tied at 1.
Rio Rancho won the shootout 7-6, prevailing in the ninth round, when goalkeeper Emilio Mendoza made a save on the Storm shooter.
Cleveland then lost to District 1-5A foe Volcano Vista, 3-2, in the third-place contest.
GIRLS: Although La Cueva won the Gold bracket, Cleveland High finished first in the Silver bracket, giving them a virtual fifth-place finish.
The Storm had been relegated to the Silver bracket after Hope Christian extended what became a 34-game winning streak, ending with the loss to La Cueva, and shut out the Storm 1-0 on Aug.31.
The Storm (6-1) got into the Silver title game after beating Albuquerque High 5-1, with goals by two goals by Angeline Montoya, and solo tallies by Arissa C’deBaca, Sophia Corlew and Taylor Williamson.
The Storm out-shot the Bulldogs 15-8; CHS goalkeeper Madison Johnson only needed to make three saves.
In the Silver final, Sienna Salazar’s goal in the 58th minute turned out to be enough to edge the Hawks.
Shots on goal were more even, with CHS holding an 11-9 advantage, with the Storm getting six corner kicks to but one for VVHS. Johnson made five saves while helping CHS to its third shutout of the season.
It’s a light week for the Rams girls this week, as they played at Capital on Tuesday.
The rams boys have three home games: Tuesday vs. Capital, Thursday vs. Albuquerque High at6 p.m. and Saturday vs. Roswell at 2 p.m.
The Cleveland teams are at the Albuquerque Academy tournament Thursday-Saturday. In action on the 14th, the CHS girls meet Farmington at noon and the boys face Los Alamos at 4 p.m.
(Observer sports editor Gary Herron contributed to this story.)