Cleveland goalkeeper Brooke Keene sees the ball but can’t quite reach it yet, although she managed to get to it before a La Cueva Bear could score on this second-half close call Friday afternoon. (Herron photo)
The Cleveland High School girls soccer team, the No. 1 seed for the state tournament, was within two minutes of advancing into the semifinals next week when La Cueva’s Makayla Chavez stunned the Storm with a goal.
That knotted the contest at 1, meaning overtime.
After a 10-minute OT period, the teams switched ends and began another 10-minute OT session, which would be followed by penalty kicks if the teams were still tied.
They weren’t: Senior Arianna Barreras, who’d been injured and helped off the pitch in the first half, sent the Storm home happy with a tally about six minutes into the second OT.
“I just put it in,” is how she summed up the game-winner.
“No team is ever out of it. You have to play the whole game,” said Storm coach Greg Rusk, whose team seemed ready to defeat the No. 9 Bears (15-7) for the second time this season and avenge their 2017 state championship loss to La Cueva.
But Chavez scored on a carom, with CHS goaltender Brooke Keene five yards away from the goal. By game’s end, though, Keene had 10 saves.
As for Barreras’s heroics, Rusk said, “She was out for much of the game and basically was on the sideline with ice on her ankle, and said, ‘Coach, I want to go in.’ So she got taped-up, went in and scored the game-winner.” Arissa C’de Baca gave the No. 1 Storm (17-1-1) a 1-0 lead in the game’s seventh minute; Ella Lent-Kopp was credited with an assist.
Lent-Koop also assisted on the game-winner.
“Basically, I just took a second to breathe and relax,” Barreras said. “I know I was stressed out, because it’s the quarterfinals and I want to be here for my team.
“After icing it and taking a little break, I was able to just feel it. It’s my senior year – I have to be there and do my best,” she said.
Now that the Bears are out of the way, the Storm will face their District 1-5A foe, Cibola, in the semifinals, scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday at Cleveland High.
The Cougars needed two overtimes to beat another 1-5A team, Volcano Vista, 3-2 earlier Friday.
The Storm have beaten the Cougars three times this season, including in the APS Metro championship game. Oddly, Volcano Vista is the only team that has beaten Cleveland this season.
Can his Storm beat the Cougars – last season’s state champs — a fourth time to get to the championship game?
“Not happy about it, but we’ve got to do it,” Rusk said, remembering the 2016 postseason, when his team lost to Rio Rancho, 4-0, in the quarterfinals after beating the Rams twice and tying them once earlier.