East Mountain High School’s girls soccer team split its first two games of the Covid-delayed spring campaign—losing the season opener to Socorro but bouncing back the next day to beat Bernalillo.

Both matches were played at the Vista Grande Community Complex in Sandia Park—the first competitions on the Lady Timberwolves’ home pitch since the first round of the Class 1A-3A playoffs on Nov. 2, 2019.

Strong, gusty winds impacted both games, pushing many of the shots wide left, wide right or over the top of the goal.

In the March 12 matchup with the Bernalillo Lady Spartans, East Mountain sophomore Amber Pino punched in a pair of goals and junior Kaylee Baker added another to lift the Lady T’Wolves to a 3-0 victory.

“It’s just nice to be on the field again, to be out there, it was great, it’s nice to have a season,” Pino said.

During a scoreless first half, five East Mountain shots missed the mark, including a pair from both Pino and senior Delilah Chavez.

But on the opening drive of the second half, with the wind at her back, Pino took a pass near midfield, dribbled the ball into the 18-yard box and hammered it in from about 10 yards out.

Five minutes later, Pino grabbed another pass, took it all alone to the goal and poked it in for a 2-0 lead.

“I remember having great passes from my teammates, so I’m grateful for that,” Pino said.

East Mountain head coach John Sabrowski said he thought his young team was trying too hard and rushing a little, but he was glad to get a victory.

“I’m very happy with the result, our first win of the season,” Sabrowski said. “Historically, Bernalillo’s been a tough team for us so I’m very proud of our team, it’s a good win.”

In the equally windy March 11 season opener, most of the shots that were on frame were stopped by both teams’ goalkeepers. East Mountain’s keeper, Hannah Shirley, had six saves—including a diving stop on a penalty kick in the 14th minute.

“I’m very happy with our defense and our goalie, Hannah had a heck of a game,” Sabrowski said.

Sienna Valdez taking a shot against Bernalillo March 12. Photo by Ger Demarest.

The Lady T’wolves battled throughout the match and had multiple opportunities, including three corners in the final minutes of the first half, but they couldn’t get the ball into the goal.

Socorro, the 2019 Class 1A-3A state runner-up, broke a scoreless tie in the final seconds of the first half to take a 1-0 lead at the intermission.

The Lady Warriors scored again in the 64th minute for the 2-0 win.

“We let our guard down in the back and left their girls uncovered,” Shirley said about Socorro’s two goals, adding, “I’m really excited to be back, I think we’re all really excited to be back, especially after knee surgery and all of this Covid stuff, it’s really, really exciting.”

“Overall, against Socorro, that was a good showing,” Sabrowski said, adding that his team is young—Shirley and Chavez are the T’Wolves only seniors—but he liked how the younger players were not afraid of their opponent.

“It’s a good starting point, we had a lot of good touches and a lot of good passes,” Sabrowski said.

East Mountain hosted Moriarty on March 16.