With high school soccer just two weeks away from the start of district play, it is a good time to get an update on how Valencia County teams are doing.
The News-Bulletin reached out to all six head coaches to get their thoughts on the season so far. Although not all coaches responded, we have been able to compile a brief summary of each program.
Belen girls soccer
One of the feel-good stories early this season in girls’ soccer is with the Belen soccer team. The Eagles have won three games so far, the most the program has recorded since 2018.
BHS has done it by finding the back of the net on a regular basis, with a 4-1 victory over Bernalillo, and a 5-1 win against Gallup.
When asked to comment on the season so far, head coach Ernest Gonzales only said, “Just happy the season started.”
The Eagles are 3-2 after defeating Del Norte 4-2 on Tuesday. Belen visits Atrisco Heritage on Thursday and Hatch Valley Saturday.
Belen boys soccer
The Belen boys soccer team is wrapping up a compact part of their schedule, with three games over a six-day stretch.
First year head coach Edgar Lopez reports he is really pleased with the Eagles’ effort.
“We are really working as a team and adjusting as necessary,” Lopez said. “We are building our chemistry, improving and growing as a team.”
Sophomores Celeb Villella and Julian Jurado were praised by coach Lopez. He calls Villella “a talented young player who understands the game,” while Jurado is “willing to demonstrate his talent and his passion by helping the team wherever possible.”
Lopez also says senior midfielder Arturo Varela has had a strong start.
The Eagles defeated Bernalillo and Miyamura last week to even their record at 2-2. However, on Tuesday, BHS hosted Del Norte and lost 2-1. They play Thursday at Atrisco Heritage.
Valencia girls soccer
Head coach Kimberly Chavez-Burkhard says the Valencia Jaguars girls’ team has gotten off to a “rough start” against some powerhouse competition.
The Jaguars now have a 1-4 record after Tuesday’s 10-0 loss against Volcano Vista. Coach Chavez-Burkhard said VHS has been hampered by numerous injuries and had to adjust the lineup considerably.
While the offense has struggled to score goals, captain Kylee Ashley-Kurtz has been consistent in the net and has kept the team motivated according to Chavez-Burkhard. VHS did break through offensively with three goals in Friday’s win at Gallup.
As for the rest of the season, coach Chavez-Burkhard is optimistic.
“We have been working on our format and positioning and we are starting to mesh as a team. Some years it takes a little longer to get the girls to their full potential but I know they have so much more to give.”
Valencia boys soccer
The Valencia Jaguars boys’ soccer team has also struggled scoring goals this season, leading to an 1-6 record against some quality opponents.
The season opened with a heartbreaking 3-2 double-overtime loss at Del Norte. Defensively, VHS has given up an average of just under three goals per game.
The Jaguars took part in a Roswell tournament over the weekend, playing against Roswell, Alamogordo and Las Cruces. On Tuesday VHS visited Socorro and ended its scoring woes with a 10-0 victory. The Jags will host Gallup on Thursday and Cibola on Saturday.
Head coach Eric Guiterrez did not respond to several requests for comment on this story.
Los Lunas girls soccer
The Los Lunas girls are off to an excellent 4-1 start, including a 1-0 road victory against Roswell.
Coach Jorge Torango says there are minor things to improve on, but he is pleased with how the Tigers have progressed.
“The team is adjusting well and finding rhythm in a style of play that suits the type of players we have,” Torango said.
Co-captain Mia Carabajal-Hartog leads the team with four goals. Torango says goalkeeper Haylee Driscoll, Adelina Villanueva and co-captain Odalys Montes have spearheaded the defense, which has registered three shutouts.
Torango praised the midfield as well and said one of the surprises this season is “how passionate this group has become.”
The Tigers have one game this week, Thursday at home against Aztec.
Los Lunas boys soccer
The Los Lunas boys are in a good position three weeks into the season, according to coach Eraclio Chavez.
“We are going to be one of the top contenders in District 5-5A,” Chavez said. “We always play a competitive schedule and this helps us prepare for district play.”
That competitive schedule included two double overtime 1-1 draws, on the road at Bosque and Alamogordo. The Tigers also played in the Louie Cernecek Tournament in Los Alamos, coming away with a 2-1 record.
Chavez said senior forward Bryan Avitia, the Tigers leading scorer, and junior goalkeeper Sean De Tamble have played “exceptionally well. I’m really proud of both young men.”
Los Lunas is 2-2-2 overall after losing to No. 1 ranked Organ Mountain 2-1 on Tuesday.
Last week’s home game against Valencia was postponed because of wet grounds and will be rescheduled.
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.