By G. Demarest
After getting blanked 9-0 in their Aug. 18 soccer home-opener, the East Mountain Lady Timberwolves bounced back last Saturday to pick up their first victory of the season.
Seniors Yvette Vallejos and Cassidy Pino combined for five goals to propel the T’Wolves to the 6-0 win over the visiting Academy for Technology and the Classics, or ATC.
“They had fun out there today, they did well,” East Mountain’s first-year head coach Brian Pecorella said after the ATC win.
Ten minutes into the ATC game, center and midfielder Pino found the net to notch the T’Wolves’ first goal of the season.
“I had a good angle and I just kind of kicked it and it curved in,” Pino said, adding, “I think we were actually ready for this one.”
Later in the first half, Vallejos poked in a pair of goals to put East Mountain up 3-0 at the intermission.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Adriana Duran got the ball past the fingertips of ATC’s goalkeeper with an assist from Pino.
But the T’Wolves’ offense wasn’t finished as a voice from the East Mountain bench cheered, “Let’s score six!”
Five minutes later, following an ATC pushing violation, Pino knocked in a penalty kick extending the T’Wolves’ lead to 5-0.
In the 72nd minute, Mia Santistevan passed the ball from the left side across the middle of the box, about 5 yards in front of the goal.
ATC’s keeper attempted a diving stop, but misplayed it.
With the ATC keeper flat on the ground, Vallejos was all alone in front of the goal for the easy tap in, securing a hat trick—a 3-goal game.
“Today was good,” Vallejos said. “I think we’re starting to play as a team more.”
Pecorella noted “the shape was better” against ATC than in the loss to Socorro, meaning the team’s formation and passing game was improved.
“They got a lot of passes off,” Pecorella said. “We didn’t have players running around forgetting where they needed to be.”
Conversely, in the season-opening loss to the visiting Socorro Lady Warriors, the T’Wolves fell behind within the first four minutes and were looking up at a 5-0 deficit at half time.
Pecorella said the team was “not prepared,” particularly in the first half.
East Mountain got close to scoring a few times in the second half but never managed to find the net.
“The first half of the game against Socorro was not good; the second half was much better,” Pecorella said. “But they’re all working hard on being focused, they’re trying hard, and that’s all we can ask for. The [Taos] tournament will be a test, because we’ll end up playing Taos, and that could be another Socorro.”
East Mountain played Tuesday at Santa Fe’s Monte del Sol after The Independent went to print.
The Lady T’Wolves will play three games at this weekend’s Taos Tournament beginning with Friday’s match-up against Silver High.
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.