Rio Rancho High School goalkeeper Antonio Cross-Guillen comes up with a first-half save; that’s teammate Jonatan Gracia-Sandoval behind him, and Hawks disappointed they didn’t score again. (Herron photo)
The top of the District 1-5 boys soccer standings looks exactly the same Oct. 13 as they did the day before.
But the margin between the top two teams grew a little — and significantly, too — on that Wednesday night.
Sophomore Jovany Orona had two early first-half goals, and Bryan Rivas added the clincher in the 75th minute in Volcano Vista’s 3-1 victory over second-place Rio Rancho.
“Huge,” Hawks coach Billy Thiebaut said after the win. “We called it ‘Championship Wednesday.’ Great team (in Rio Rancho), great competition, and this is the team that is chasing us. We came out ready to play.”
Class 5A’s second-ranked Hawks (11-1-3 overall) remained unbeaten in district play, moving to 4-0-1 in league action.
The Rams (9-4-3), ranked No. 7, fell to 3-2-1 in the district, and with two head-to-head losses to Volcano Vista, the Hawks are in position to clinch the regular-season title on Saturday when they play host to Atrisco Heritage.
Sandia Prep is the only team to have beaten Volcano Vista in full time.
“Just an exciting day,” said the soft-spoken Orona.
Orona scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season in rapid-fire succession, first in the eighth minute, and then four minutes later.
Rio Rancho coach John Shepard said his center back was having a medical issue for the first eight minutes.
“So yeah, we started pretty slow and spotted them some goals, but credit to them for taking some killer shots,” Shepard said.
The Rams certainly gave themselves chances after falling into that two-goal hole.
Eventually, Rio Rancho did get that first goal, with Edgar Alarcon’s close-quarters shot in the 57th minute cutting the Volcano Vista lead to 2-1. Rio Rancho had a couple of other high-quality opportunities that it wasn’t quite able to finish.
Volcano Vista finally put it away on Rivas’ left-footed blast from 20 yards out and a two-goal cushion. He is the younger brother of New Mexico United’s Sergio Rivas.
Rio Rancho is home Saturday at 9 a.m. to meet Albuquerque Academy in a non-district game, then finishes its district schedule at last-place Cibola (Wednesday at 3:30) and visiting Atrisco Heritage Academy (next Saturday at 11 a.m.).
Storm boys can’t score
After going the second half and two 10-minute overtime sessions in their eventual 2-2 deadlock with visiting Rio Rancho on Saturday, the Cleveland boys (8-7-4, 1-2-3) went 100 minutes at the APS soccer complex Wednesday evening without a goal.
That scoreless draw with the Jaguars (8-7-3, 2-2-2) means the Storm have been scoreless for more than 160 minutes – more than 2½ hours – and, with two games remaining, figure to finish in no better than fourth place in 1-5A.
The Storm are home Friday at 6 to face last-place Cibola (4-11-1, 0-4-1), with a victory or tie with the Cougars landing the Storm in fourth place, and making it three straight seasons without a state playoff appearance.
Speaking of the state tournament, the seeding for the 12-team boys (and girls) tournament takes place Oct. 23.
The first round will be played Oct. 25-26, with the top-four seeds receiving byes, and seeds 5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10 and 8 vs. 9, dueling to advance on the home field of the better seed.
The quarterfinals take place Oct. 28-29; the semifinals are Nov. 2, also at the home fields of the higher seeds.
The 5A championship game will take place on Nov. 5, with the time and site yet to be finalized.