ALBUQUERQUE — After an undefeated regular season in which it held its final six opponents off the scoreboard, the St. Michael’s girls soccer team got its just rewards Saturday night when the Lady Horsemen were handed the No. 1 overall seed in next week’s Class 1A/3A state tournament.
Pairings were announced on social media by the New Mexico Activities Association. District champions in every classification were given automatic bids to the postseason with the remaining spots reserved for at-large invitations.
One of the teams that held out hope for one of those at-large spots was Santa Fe High’s girls. The Demons capped an impressive regular season with a blowout win over Capital on Saturday, clinching second place in District 1-5A. With a 5-3 overall record and two losses by penalty kicks, they were a strong candidate for one of the two at-large spots in 5A.
They didn’t get it.
Both 5A and 4A have eight-team fields, while 1A/3A have been reduced to four. The higher seeds get home field advantage through the state semifinals, meaning St. Michael’s will be on its home turf for Tuesday’s small-school semifinal against No. 4 Sandia Prep.
Coincidentally, Sandia Prep is the only team to have scored a goal against the Lady Horsemen (6-0-1) all season.
“Well, you get rewarded for being No. 1 and our reward is being home,” said St. Michael’s coach Alfonso Camarena. “If you want to be a champion, you have to play anywhere, any time.”
In 4A, the Los Alamos girls are the No. 5 seed and will face No. 4 Goddard.
On the boys’ side, the only Santa Fe team to make the tournament in any classification is Santa Fe Prep, the District 2-1A/3A champion. The Blue Griffins were shown no love by the selection committee, getting seeded No. 4 and being dispatched to a Tuesday afternoon game at No. 1 Sandia Prep.
Los Alamos is the No. 7 seed in 4A and will head north to face District 2-4A rival Taos, the No. 2 seed. The Tigers (6-0) swept the regular season series with the Hilltoppers (6-2).
The 1A/3A state finals will be Thursday in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico while the 4A and 5A championship matches will be at UNM next weekend.