Moriarty High School’s girls soccer team came out strong, grabbed an early lead, and battled till the end in its Oct. 15 district match against the visiting Taos Lady Tigers (9-3-2, 2-1).

Moriarty’s Naomi Hernandez scored first, and Lila Lionbarger capped the Lady Pintos’ scoring just before the final whistle.

But late in the first half and early in the second half the Lady Tigers found the back of the net three times to go home with a 3-2 victory.

“They just put them in really quickly,” Lionbarger said.

The Lady Pintos (4-12, 1-2) possessed the ball well and attacked often, taking nine shots in the first half. But most of the time the ball either sailed a little off target or went right into the mitts of the Taos goalkeeper.

“We just had trouble finding a way into the goal,” Moriarty head coach Val Luker said.

Moriarty got on the board five minutes into the first half when Grace Hart sent a long pass from near midfield past a pair of Tigers’ defenders—commonly referred to as a through ball—and Hernandez got control of it. The Taos goalkeeper came out, Hernandez nailed a sliding kick past her and the two collided in a heap. Hernandez stayed on the ground momentarily but played the rest of the game with a sore knee.

“We tumbled over each other,” Hernandez said, adding, “I don’t know what I hit but it was something hard.”

With under 30 seconds remaining in the first half, Taos poked a shot past Moriarty goalkeeper Araceli Kamplain. Kamplain dove to her left but just missed getting her hands on the ball and the score was knotted 1-1 at halftime. She finished with 10 saves.

In the first 10 minutes of the second half, Taos added a pair of goals to take a 3-1 advantage.

The two teams traded attacks until the 78th minute when Hernandez sent a long pass and Lionbarger grabbed it and rifled a shot from around 20 yards out. The ball bounced past Taos’ goalkeeper to trim the margin to 3-2.

Lila Lionbarger and Naomi Hernandez celebrating a goal in the second half.

“Naomi sent me this beautiful through ball and I took a shot and hoped for the best,” Lionbarger said. “If it didn’t bounce it probably wouldn’t have gone in.”

The loss was Moriarty’s fifth by two goals or fewer.

“It was a good game, I’m happy with the outcome of it,” Luker said. “The girls did keep fighting, and they know what they need to work on.”

The Lady Pintos played Oct. 17 at Pojoaque Valley, and play their final home game Oct. 22 against Los Alamos.