With district play getting underway in all sports except football, its time to take a look at St. Pius X and Grants High School, the two schools that join the three Valencia County teams to complete Class 4A District five. St. Pius is the reigning district champion in all three sports.
In boys soccer, the Sartans, the defending district champions, were sitting at 3-3-1 prior to the start of league play on Tuesday. Prior to the season, St. Pius was once again expected to be among the top teams in 4A despite losing ten players from last year’s squad to graduation.
St. Pius is likely to be the biggest obstacle in Los Lunas’ quest for a district title, and were the only team to beat the Tigers in district play last season, though LLHS head coach Eric Chavez feels that the Tigers deserved more out of those matchups.
The Sartans were the No. 1 seed in last year’s state tournament before the Tigers got their revenge and eliminated them in the quarterfinals.
Grants is struggling once again this season, currently sitting at 0-9-1 on the year. The Pirates finished last in the district last season after failing to win a single district matchup. The lone tie for GHS came against a Gallup team that Los Lunas beat 6-1 last week.
Among the nine losses for the Pirates, five have come via the mercy rule. GHS lists five eighth graders on the varsity roster, so youth is likely a factor. Defensively, the team is porous, giving up an average of 7.5 goals per game.
On the girls side, the Sartans are sitting at 2-4 on the year after a challenging non-district schedule which included multiple games against 5A opponents. Expected to be one of the contenders for a state championship this season, and will at least be in the thick of the race for a district crown, MaxPreps has the Sartans ranked as the third best team in 4A as of Sept. 23.
Grants comes in with an impressive 8-1 record, but the Pirates still are below St. Pius and Los Lunas in the MaxPreps rankings due to a weak schedule.
Still, the Pirates, who have scored 48 goals this season, should be able to give any defense fits.
The Pirates finished last season at 15-6 but 4-4 in district play, good for third place and only one point behind Los Lunas.
In volleyball, the Sartans sat at 6-2 prior to Tuesday’s matchup with Albuquerque Academy. St. Pius is ranked first overall in 4A and fifth in the state, with a defense of last year’s district title likely the expectation for the team.
Los Lunas coach Tanya Sanchez made a point prior to the season of setting a district title as one of the team’s goals, but that certainly won’t be easy to reclaim from the Sartans.
Grants has struggled mightily so far this season, holding an 0-7 record heading into Tuesday’s match. The Pirates have only managed to win four sets in total this season and seem likely to repeat last year’s last place finish.
Last season, GHS finished with a 2-18 record overall and winless in district play at 0-8. The Pirates are ranked at No. 29 in 4A and No. 140 in the state, according to MaxPreps rankings.