When Caroline Roberts scored goal in the second half of Oct. 12 home matchup against Pojoaque Valley, she was immediately surrounded by several of her teammates.
Brooklynn Olivas was first to embrace Roberts, followed by Lillian Chavez. Roberts, grinning ear to ear, quickly spun around, spread her arms and met Lindsey Rebarchik with a full-throttled bear hug.
The Pintos (12-3-1, 2-1 in District 2-4A) were in full control of the game when Roberts scored in the 75th minute, so the goal was merely the icing on the 3-0 victory. But the swarm of good vibes that followed Roberts’ goal reflected one of the keys to Moriarty’s success this season: camaraderie that is translating into victories.
“We all get along really well, and I think that helps a lot, like, we’re like a family pretty much,” Olivas said. “The thing about us is, we’re a team, on the field, off the field, we hang out with each other willingly all the time, it’s insane. So I think that’s honestly the biggest thing.”
Olivas, Moriarty’s leading scorer, got the Lady Pintos on the board in the 39th minute with a long-range missile from about 30 yards out. When she buried a penalty kick in the second half, she didn’t realize it marked her 20th goal — the most she’s ever scored in a season. Olivas added a hat trick later in the week against Taos to give her 23 goals but that is still well shy of Ashley Strader’s school record 32 in 2017.
“Oh really? That’s cool! That’s a big achievement,” Olivas said, adding, “A very exciting moment because I never make my PKs, very rare, they always go over.”
That victory over Pojoaque, coupled with a 5-0 win Oct. 17 over Taos gives the Pintos their most win since collecting 14 in 2017.
Moriarty head coach Val Luker attributed the team’s success to how the players are jelling together.
“They’re harmonious, they’re cohesive, they have matured and grown, everybody’s working together, it’s all a positive,” Luker said.
Last year, Moriarty finished the season with a pair of draws, one to the Elkettes, followed by a scoreless tie with Taos. The Lady Pintos ended up with a losing record and missed out on a playoff berth.
This year, Luker hopes the team will continue to battle through the rest of the district schedule and not only get into the playoffs but earn a higher seed than they did in their last trip to the postseason in 2021 when they got the No. 8 spot and lost in the first round.
“I’d like to be around a five [seed] so that we can ensure success and move on to the next round,” Luker said. “That’s what I would like and that’s what I’ve been telling them, to stay focused and fight hard for it.”
Luker said her top scorers, Olivas along with Andrea Rector, have been huge on the offensive side, but she’s quick to point out the other players who have helped with Moriarty’s success.
“We rely heavily on the defensive line and our center-mids,” Luker said. “Lil, Lilly Chavez, she stands out, and Presley Edwards, Isabel Urioste, Emily Russell, Lindsey Rebarchik and the Roberts girl, they’re the workhorses. Scoring is great to win games, but you have to have that anchor on the back line.”
That back line anchor coupled with the scoring and the positive vibe amongst the players has the Pintos rolling.
Moriarty faced its biggest district hurdle in a late game Oct. 19 against perennial state championship contender, No. 4 Los Alamos. But whatever happens in their remaining district matchups, Olivas said the Pintos are having a lot of fun.
“I think we want it a lot more than we did last year,” she said. “We want to win, we want to make it to state because, I don’t know, we wanna win, we like winning.”