A cinderella story fell just short for the Lady Warriors during the 2019 State Championships. The one seeded Sandia Prep Sundevils defeated the two seeded Socorro team 4-1 and went home with a blue trophy during the three day long tournament.
During a cold rain filled morning game on November 6 the quarterfinals matchup was business as usual with Socorro taking down 10th seeded Rehoboth Christian 10-1. Up 3-1 at half, the Socorro offense took over with seven different players finding the back of the net in the game.
Round two was a bit more of a challenge against St. Michael’s. The Lady Horseman came out strong offensively. Once they settled in, Socorro sophomore Lola Apodaca connected on a long shot that went over the keepers head. St. Michael’s responded with a rebound score by freshman Farrah Baker. Junior Consuelo Apache found the net to make it 2-1 Warriors. Apache finished things off in the second half on a scramble in the box chest goal which put the game out of reach.
Sophomore goal keeper Chailynn Amaro was vocal in communicating with the defense to help get the Lady Warriors to the championship game.
“We connected our passes and played as a team,” she said. “I tried to judge the ball because I didn’t want to get scored on, simple as that. We’re always gonna make sure we have each others back every game which we did today.”
A topic of conversation after game two was Lola Apodaca going down multiple times which had fans and teammates concerned about the health of one of the star Warriors players.
“I hurt my knee but I got back up,” she said. “I’ll be ready for the championships. I’m going to ice myself tonight. Last year was a heartbreak for us so we all want to make sure that we’re prepared mentally.”
When the final whistle blew head coach Michael Olguin threw his hands up in celebration before running to celebrate with the Socorro fans.
“This is one of the best feelings,” he said. “Winning big games in the state tournament is a moment that you can’t describe. To be able to see the results after all of the blood, sweat and tears makes it worth it.”
The championship game was chalk for the tournament with 1 versus 2. Sandia Prep scored fast off of a penalty kick by senior Jacqueline Rodriguez. Apodaca and Apache had solid runs but could not connect. Sundevils players Ava Forrester and Isa Gilbert scored almost back to back, making it 3-0 at half and taking the air out of the Socorro fanbase.
At halftime senior team leader Kayla Botko was preaching “If they can score three goals in 40 minutes then so can we!” In the huddle. It was not enough.
Prep freshman Maddie Hashagen made it 4-0 right before Lola Apodaca was injured once again off of a tackle but did walk off on her own two feet. Consuelo was able to score late in the game off of a through ball to insure that it was not a shutout.
“This game was harder for us,” Consuelo said after the loss. “Offensively we weren’t as strong as we could have been. We made some mistakes. But having the experience of playing in the championship game is something I’ll never forget.”
Sundevils head coach Matthew Westerlund spoke about his players and the Warriors team after the game.
“This was a fantastic way to send out my seniors,” he said. “We don’t want to sound cocky but this is how we wanted to send them off which was with a championship. We were able to exploit the midfield and stay patient game wise. As a graduate of Prep I understand the socio-economical side of things in terms of private and public school. But on the field, Socorro was by far the most physical team we have faced all season. We’ve played bigger schools but this group we faced had more heart than anyone we’ve had to battle against, hands down.”
Coach Olguin and his team were frustrated and emotional as they went home with the second place trophy.
“Second place is the first loser,” Olguin said. “But we keep knocking at the door, and we’re going to continue to do so. Going up against a powerhouse like Prep is tough. That team played hard today and we give them all the credit. Our girls fought hard and represented Socorro in a good way. Our team name speaks for itself. They’re Warriors every day both on and off the field.”
The Lady Warriors finish 14th overall in the state amongst all divisions and second in class 3A. As a team Socorro was well above the national average in points, assists and goals. Graduating seniors; Kayla Botko, Elysia Gutierrez, Kaylene Baca.