La Cueva beat Volcano Vista 3-0 in the semifinals of the Albuquerque Metro Championships on Wednesday, although the game was extremely tight most of the way.
A late penalty kick from Gabe Ramirez-Orona, and then a point-blank shot inside the 6 by Wyatt Holmes — both in the waning minutes — made it a three-goal margin.
The game-winner at the APS comples was provided by Winston Starr in the 28th minute.
There was a throw-in, followed by a flick from freshman Isaac Martinez who set up Starr.
“I ran onto the flick and hit it with my left foot,” Starr said of his finish from close range to keep the Bears (5-0) perfect.
Meanwhile, in net, senior goalkeeper Mateo Nobrego came up with two excellent saves in the first half to help keep the Hawks (3-1) off the sheet.
The Bears, who also own impressive wins over Atrisco Heritage and Albuquerque Academy, have only allowed one goal in five matches so far this season.
“I knew we were looking good, but I don’t think we’ve hit our potential yet,” La Cueva coach Easy Jimenez said.
La Cueva on Friday night will face Rio Rancho, which outlasted defending 5A state champion Cleveland in a lengthy and dramatic penalty-kick shootout after the teams finished regulation, and two overtimes, tied 1-1. Rio Rancho won the shootout 7-6.
The Rams (5-1) prevailed in the ninth round, when goalkeeper Emilio Mendoza made a save on the Storm shooter.