With summer workouts in the rearview mirror and official practices getting underway this week, two area high school girls soccer teams—Moriarty and East Mountain—spent last week hosting scrimmages.

Moriarty capped its end-of-summer camp with a scrimmage against the Belen Lady Eagles, while the East Mountain girls team battled the boys.

The outcomes of preseason scrimmages mean nothing in the official record books but the Lady Pintos came away pleased last Thursday after outscoring the visiting Lady Eagles 2-1, the same team that shutout Moriarty 3-0 in a scrimmage in June. “This was a build-up of what we’ve been doing,” Moriarty’s head coach Val Luker said.

East Mountain’s Hannah Linder dribbling the ball downfield during last week’s scrimmage against the boys squad. Photo by G. Demarest.

Moriarty senior Rhiannon Moya scored both of Moriarty’s goals, one in the first half and the other—a header from 5 yards out—in the second half.

The Lady Pintos nearly scored a third goal when Chloe Rector made a nifty sliding pass downfield to Moya, who then relayed a cross-kick over to teammate Araceli Kamplain in the middle of the 18-yard box. Kamplain tapped the ball toward the goal but just missed it by a few inches.

“That was beautiful,” Luker said of the attempt.

Luker acknowledged her team is “very young,” with a couple of freshmen including Kamplain, but said the girls have been working hard since last December and it’s paying off on the pitch. “I’ve seen a lot of commitment, good work ethic, better focus, and they’ve just been enjoying what they’re doing,” Luker said.

East Mountain’s boys and girls soccer squads have squared off in a preseason scrimmage for the past few seasons and the girls team’s new head coach Matt Painter was all for continuing the tradition. “I wanted [the girls] to know what it feels like to go up against a tough team,” Painter said.

Painter is East Mountain’s third girls soccer coach in two seasons, replacing last year’s duo of Andrea Vincent and Kim Linder, who took over midseason after Brian Pecorella resigned two months into his stint.

Linder remains as Painter’s assistant coach.

Despite last year’s turnover the Lady Timberwolves had a solid season and made it to the Class 1A-4A state tournament where they ultimately suffered a season-ending 2-1 loss to Kirtland Central.

Painter said he’s planning on making the girls tougher this season by having them participate in activities like wrestling and even rugby, “to help them build up their confidence.”

The new coach said he’d prefer to build a winning team rather than take over an already-winning team, and to do that the girls have to build up their strength. “When we have the ball we have to be strong, that’s why I want to toughen them up,” Painter said. “Ten percent of football is skill, 80 percent is fitness, and the other 10 percent is just thinking.”

Painter, who grew up in England, coached Albuquerque Academy’s freshman boys team in the 1990s. He’s also coached club teams, and most recently has spent time coaching on a “private one-on-one” level.

This is his first varsity head coaching gig and he said he’s impressed with what he’s seen from his new squad. “The girls are very motivated and they’re putting forth a lot of effort,” Painter said. “We’re just going to keep on working hard.”