Los Lunas girls soccer will play at the 5A level this fall if the pandemic allows for a fall sports season. The Tigers will join a district that includes Albuquerque High, Manzano, Rio Grande, Santa Fe and Capital.
News-Bulletin file photo

(This is the second in a series examining the new district opponents Los Lunas high school teams will face following their move to Class 5A.)

LOS LUNAS — The Los Lunas Girls Soccer team is coming off of a season in which they qualified for the playoffs and advanced to the second round, before falling to Hope Christian 8-0.

The Lady Tigers finished the season with a record of 12-10 and went 4-4 in district play under first-year head coach Frolian Ramirez.

Now, the team will face new challenges in Class 5A, the highest division in the sport. Making up the Tiger’s new district are Albuquerque High, Manzano, Rio Grande, Capital and Santa Fe.

Albuquerque High

The Bulldogs won the district last season, finishing with a 15-3-1 record and achieved a perfect 10-0 record in district play.

AHS only loses five seniors from last year’s squad and will bring a strong, experienced group back with a senior class of seven.

The program is led by head coach Natasha Lee, who has led the program since 2012 and enjoyed much success, never having a season with less than 12 wins.

Albuquerque’s run in the playoffs was cut short when the fourth-seeded Bulldogs were upset by Carlsbad in the quarterfinals, 1-0.

AHS was the only district 5 team to qualify for the 12 team playoff field.

Manzano

The Monarchs went 9-9, 5-5 last season with a young squad that featured eight freshmen and sophomores. With only five seniors leaving, the Monarchs, who ranked 27th in the state by Max Preps last season, return the vast majority of their roster as they look to improve off of last year’s finish and qualify for the playoffs.

2019 featured a challenging schedule for MHS, who faced three of the top four seeds in the 5A playoffs at least once as well as 10th seed Sandia, the team which moved out of the district to make room for the Tigers.

A 5-5 district record was good enough for the Monarchs to finish third in the district behind Albuquerque and Sandia.

Rio Grande

The Ravens went 10-8, 4-6 last season and finished in fourth place in district 5. RGHS was ranked 28th in the state by MaxPreps. The Ravens had a strong non-district showing, particularly against Class 4A teams, including Valencia.

RGHS finished 6-2 in non-district play but struggled some against the stronger competition in the district. They went 4-0 against the two teams to finish below them, Santa Fe and Capital, but didn’t grab a single win against any of the three to finish above them.

The Ravens were staunch defensively, allowing only 27 goals on the season, avoiding the large margins of defeat that many others suffered at the hands of teams like Albuquerque.

Santa Fe

The Santa Fe Demons went 8-11-1, 3-7 in district play and finished the year ranked 40th in the state last season.

The Demons failed to qualify for the playoffs but had a young roster that only featured two seniors and 13 underclassmen, including three eighth-graders. With such a young team, the Demons struggled in district play, defeating city rival Capital twice as well as defeating Manzano once to reach their three wins in district.

LLHS was on the schedule for the Demons last year as well, a game which saw the Tigers come away with a 2-1 win in early-season tournament play.

Capital

The Jaguars were on the bottom rung in district play last year, going 3-16, 0-10 in district play to finish last.

CHS struggled to produce any offense all season, only scoring 18 times, with seven of their 18 coming in one game against Navajo Prep, which they won 7-6.

All three Jaguar victories came against teams in lower classifications, with Prep and Monte Del Sol playing at A/3A and Pojoaque Valley at 4A.

The defense was missing for CHS all season, as the team conceded 126 goals and was a victim of the 10 goal mercy rule on seven different occasions.

Joshua Zwemer led the team last year, his first in charge of the program.

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Cameron Goeldner grew up in Boulder, Colo., and attended the University of New Mexico. He covers everything sports for all Valencia County schools.