Moriarty High School’s boys soccer team needed one big defensive stop to keep its postseason alive.
Two minutes into the second overtime period during last Friday’s Class 1A/4A state semifinal against the top-ranked Hope Christian Huskies—following a Moriarty foul—Hope launched a free kick from 20 yards out.
The ball sailed to the left, took a big, bounding hop past Moriarty’s goalkeeper, Ethan Tolleson, and into the net for a 2-1 Huskies victory.
“I stayed too far in and it just bounced a little too high for me to get to it,” Tolleson said.
In their first trip to the state tournament in more than a decade, the Pintos (14-7-1, 6-2 in District 4-1A/4A) got past defending state champion Santa Fe Prep in the quarterfinals, and had the advantage over No. 1 Hope for much of the semifinal. Both matches were at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex.
After 59 minutes of scoreless battling against the Huskies, Lucas Shirley sent a pass to Franklin Rea who knocked it into the goal for a 1-0 Moriarty lead. “I got a little tap and fell to the ground, and I think the ball actually touched Hope’s defender and it went in,” Rea said.
But in the 79th minute, the fourth-seeded Pintos surrendered a goal to the Huskies to knot the score at 1-1 and send the game into overtime.
Nine minutes into the first overtime, Shirley had an opportunity to win it for the Pintos on a free kick, but a leaping save by Huskies goalkeeper Brandon Bagon kept the game tied 1-1 and the match went into a second overtime period.
“Those are the balls I need to get,” said Bagon, who lives in Tijeras. “That’s what I’ve been practicing my whole life.”
“We had it and lost it,” Shirley said. “Sometimes you don’t get the lucky bounce.”
“It’s unfortunate, it’s heartbreaking, but that’s the game of soccer—sometimes the bounces go your way, sometimes they don’t,” Moriarty head coach Jordan Allcorn said.
The Pintos got to the semis by blanking the No. 5 Santa Fe Prep Griffins 3-0 in last Thursday’s quarterfinals.
The Pintos came out attacking and picked up consecutive first-half goals by Rea to lead 2-0 at halftime.
“I don’t think I’ve done that all year,” Rea said of his pair of goals. “We were all a little nervous, so it was good to push them like that.”
Shirley scored the third goal from 8 yards out in the 65th minute. “Pavel [Arguello] sent it to me, I got past the only guy there and shot it back post,” he said.
After the win over Santa Fe Prep, Allcorn said the Pintos had played “pretty close to flawless.”
The season had high points for both Allcorn and the boys soccer program.
It was not only the Pintos’ first trip to the state tournament since 2005, but the victory in the quarterfinals and subsequent advance to the semis hasn’t happened since the 1990s, according to Allcorn.
Moriarty’s 14 victories also mark a single-season high under Allcorn’s helm and a stark improvement over last season’s 5-14-2 record.
“It’s definitely a big step for us,” Allcorn said. “The key was the cohesion of this group. They all care about each other—it’s a great group of kids.”