Moriarty’s girls soccer team battled til the final whistle but ultimately fell 3-1 to top-ranked Santa Fe Prep in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A/4A state tournament last Thursday at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex.

“We gave it everything we had, we played well. I felt like we never gave up,” Moriarty head coach Val Luker said.

In their first trip to the state quarterfinals since 2009, the eighth-seeded Lady Pintos penetrated early against the No. 1 Lady Griffins. Moriarty took numerous shots—including a pair of free kicks—and added two corner kicks, but none found the back of the net.

Meanwhile, the Lady Griffins scored three minutes into the match and maintained a 1-0 lead until early in the second half.

Moriarty’s Ashley Strader trying to maintain control and outrace the Santa Fe Prep defender.

Ashley Strader’s breakaway goal from 10 yards out in the 45th minute tied the score 1-1. “I just took it, beat the next two people and hit it near the post and it went right under the goalie,” Strader said, adding, “I was thinking if we kept playing hard we could beat this team.”

But the Lady Griffins scored in the 56th minute to go up 2-1, and then added an insurance goal on a weird series of plays that started in the 70th.

During a fast break, an S.F. Prep forward sliced a shot into the net past Moriarty goalkeeper Sage Bond. But the official had blown his whistle—claiming there was a Moriarty foul on the play—nullifying the goal but awarding the Lady Griffins a direct free kick.

The free kick was deflected out of bounds by Moriarty, giving the Griffins a corner kick. The corner kick got knocked around in front of the goal before the officials stopped the play and awarded S.F. Prep another free kick. That one found its way into the net to put Prep ahead 3-1 in the 74th minute.

“Yeah, when that happened, I was, ‘What is going on?’” Luker said.

Chloe Rector trying to gain control of the ball.

The Pintos kept battling down the stretch and were awarded a direct free kick of their own late in the 79th minute, but the ball sailed just a few inches above the crossbar. Five seconds later, the official blew the final whistle.

“It was pretty intense out there, there was a lot of emotion the whole game, you could feel it,” Moriarty forward Chloe Rector said.

The Lady Pintos finished the season 14-8, 3-3 in District 4-1A/4A, with their second-consecutive trip to the postseason and first state playoff victory in eight years.

“We had a great season,” Luker said. “The girls worked hard, they were tenacious, they were fighting tooth and nail till the end, and they never let down. You can’t ask for anything more than that.”