There were hugs and tears galore as Moriarty High School’s girls soccer season came to an end in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament Nov. 3 at Del Norte High in Albuquerque.
Moriarty’s bid to make it to the state quarterfinals for the second consecutive year came up short as the No. 9 Lady Pintos lost 5-2 to the Del Norte Lady Knights.
The eighth-seeded Lady Knights, who were hosting the match on their new artificial turf field, broke the scoreless battle with their first goal in the 26th minute.
Del Norte added a second goal just before halftime.
“They were ready, I give them props for that,” Moriarty senior forward Chloe Rector said.
Ashley Strader’s penalty kick in the 32nd minute was Moriarty’s only first-half score.
“They were a great team,” Strader said. “But I think overall we were very even with them.”
Eighteen minutes into the second half, Del Norte scored on a corner kick to push its lead to 3-1.
Following a Moriarty throw in, Strader got control of the ball inside the 18-yard box, took it to the 6-yard area and poked it in to trim the gap to 3-2 in the 66th minute.
“The ball bounced off one of their girls and I just followed through with it and hit it under their keeper,” Strader said.
But two minutes later, the Lady Knights countered with a breakaway goal to go up 4-2.
In the game’s waning minutes, Moriarty attacked relentlessly but every shot was either saved by Del Norte’s goalkeeper or a tad off frame.
“We were throwing everything at it,” Strader said. “Might as well fight hard till the end.”
Del Norte’s final dagger was another breakaway goal in the 79th.
“I think we played well, unfortunately we were having to play catch up and we just couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net,” Moriarty head coach Val Luker said. “Subtle things that should’ve happened that didn’t, you add it all up and that’s what you get.”
With the loss, seniors Strader and Rector played their final game together.
“It’s kind of sad because Chloe and I’ve been playing together for five years,” the Fort Lewis College-bound Strader said. She tallied 29 goals this season and ended with 99 goals in her varsity career.
“I’m sad, but like, I’m so proud of us for playing good and sticking to it till the end,” Rector added. “I would rather us lose playing a hard game than lose not playing a hard game.”
Rector finished with 18 goals on the season and 70 in her career.
Luker said it is bittersweet losing Strader and Rector, referring to them as her “dynamic duo.”
“They came out as eighth-graders and they were game changers, positive forces on the field,” Luker said. “They will be missed.”
The Lady Pintos finished the season 10-10 overall, and 4-2 in district.