In damp, cold weather that was well suited for sitting in front of a warm fire, East Mountain High School’s boys and girls soccer squads did their best to endure the elements Oct. 16, but couldn’t get past the visiting Socorro Warriors.
With the temperature hovering in the high 30s at the Vista Grande Community Complex in Sandia Park, and intermittent snow flurries peppering the players, East Mountain’s boys lost 5-0, followed by the girls losing 3-1 in a darkness and injury-shortened contest that ended in the 76th minute.
In the Lady Timberwolves’ match, Mia Gutierrez took a blow and left the game shortly before halftime.
Late in the second half, after the Lady T’Wolves scored their only goal, Socorro was counterattacking when East Mountain goalkeeper Hannah Shirley made a leaping save on a Lady Warriors’ shot.
With the ball still in her hands, Shirley went down and stayed on the ground for a few minutes before being helped off the field.
With darkness closing in, the referees agreed to end the game.
“I asked them to call it,” East Mountain head coach John Sabrowski said. “I didn’t want to just scoot her off the field and keep going for three or four minutes.”
“Right as I jumped I felt a pop, and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s not good,’” Shirley said after the game, indicating that she hurt her right knee. She finished with 16 saves.
Sabrowski said in a text afterwards that Shirley’s likely done for the season, adding that “it was a costly game for us.”
The Lady T’Wolves (7-6-1) scored their goal in the 71st minute when Kaylee Baker sent a cross pass to Sierra Larson who took a couple of touches before poking the ball into the net.
“I was at the 18-yard line and drove up to about the six [the 6-yard area] and I shot it,” Larson said, adding, “At that point, you can’t think about it too much, I was just trying to stay warm.”
The Lady Warriors (17-1) scored goals in the 2nd and 12th minutes to take a 2-0 advantage. They scored their third goal in the 45th minute.
“I felt like in the beginning we let the cold kind of dictate our play,” Sabrowski said. “Then we got fired up after that goal—even before that goal, we started to rally and move the ball around a little better, and that goal really boosted everybody up.”
In the boys match, Socorro’s first goal broke a scoreless tie in the 26th minute.
The Warriors (11-5-1) added another goal to take a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, the Warriors scored again; they added two more in the 68th and 74th minutes.
East Mountain (3-14) had a golden opportunity to score in the 51st minute but came up empty on a confusing play that left coaches from both teams asking for clarification from the referee.
Socorro committed a goalkeeper infraction, giving the T’Wolves a free kick from the 6-yard line. Aza Jaffe, the East Mountain player attempting the free kick, tapped the ball to his teammate, Rayden Smith, who then kicked the ball into the back of the net for what appeared to be an East Mountain goal.
But the referee said that Jaffe missed the ball, and that it just rolled to Smith.
On a free kick, the player doing the kicking can take a shot or kick the ball to a teammate. The referee said because Jaffe never touched the ball, Smith improperly kicked the ball into the net, so the goal didn’t count.
“I didn’t see a proper touch,” the referee told both teams’ coaches during his explanation.
“It is what it is,” Sabrowski said. “It wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game.”
Sabrowski, who’s now in his second season at the helm of the girls team, took the reins of the boys squad after Matt Painter resigned last month.
“We’re just doing what we can with what we have to finish the season,” Sabrowski said.