Isabel Armstrong tallied two goals and Emma Rocco chipped in one to help East Mountain High School’s girls soccer team blank the visiting Hatch Valley Lady Bears 3-0 in the Lady Timberwolves’ final match of the regular season Oct. 24.
“It’s a very good win,” East Mountain head coach John Sabrowski said. “They played very well, I was very pleased.”
Coming off a 2-1 win in double overtime Oct. 22 at Santa Fe’s Academy for Technology and the Classics—a match were Armstrong scored the game-winning golden goal in the second OT period—the Lady T’Wolves (13-6, 2-2) needed to beat district rival Hatch Valley to boost their seeding in the upcoming state playoffs.
Prior to the game, the preliminary playoff predictions posted on maxpreps.com had East Mountain slated as a No. 7 seed and Hatch Valley in the eighth spot.
“Hopefully this will help us get a number five spot, I’d even be OK with a six,” Sabrowski said about the possible state seeding.
Hatch Valley (13-5, 0-3) came out attacking early in the first half, but when a Lady Bears’ defender touched the ball with her hand inside the 18-yard box, it gave East Mountain a penalty kick.
Rocca took the shot and punched it in for a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute.
“I like to shoot, and I just told myself, ‘I can’t miss this shot, my team is depending on this,’” Rocco said. “This might be my last game for a long time and if I didn’t make it I would’ve gone home sad.”
Rocco was alluding to her uncertain future due to a torn ACL on her left knee that she suffered in the first matchup against Hatch on Oct. 10.
At the start of the second half, East Mountain kicked off and Kimberly Stephenson sent the ball into the left corner where a Hatch defender tried to get control but mishandled it. Armstrong swooped in to collect the ball, took two touches and sent it into the net past the far post.
“Their defender kinda slipped up and it made it easy to make an easy goal,” Armstrong said.
Thirty seconds before the final whistle, Rocco sent a cross pass to Armstrong and she took it into the 6-yard area and scored as she tumbled over the Hatch goalkeeper.
“Emma made a perfect cross and I just tapped it past their keeper and then she got in front of me and I just fell,” Armstrong said.
“I think that PK really helped us relax a little bit, and then in the second half we came out with that quick goal and that really took the pressure off,” Sabrowski said.
The New Mexico Activities Association released the seeding on Oct. 27 for the Class A-3A state tournament and gave the Lady T’Wolves the No. 5 spot. They’ll host No. 12 Santa Fe Indian School in the first round.