For the second consecutive year and for the third time in four years, the Taos Lady Tigers have made it into the state soccer championship tournament as the No. 7 seed. Taos closed out the regular season with an 11-5 overall record and 6-4 in district play – losing a pair of games to each of their Santa Fe foes, the Santa Fe Prep Lady Griffins and the St. Michael’s Lady Horsemen.
The match against St. Michael’s was the final game of the season for the Lady Tigers, resulting in a 5-1 loss at Christian Brothers Stadium in Santa Fe Oct. 21. Scoring the lone goal for Taos was Margot Goler, who connected with the back of the net in the first half of the game to end a scoreless streak of five halves – dating back to Oct. 6, 2016 – against the Lady Horsemen. The game was close throughout the first 40 minutes, as Taos trailed by just one goal at intermission. St. Mike’s exploded in the second half, however, scoring three unanswered goals to close out the game and matching the scoring average of five goals per game against Taos.
Outsized and outgunned, it was a stingy Lady Horsemen defensive front that kept the Lady Tigers from taking effective shots on goal. In all, 10 total attempts by Taos were scooped up by St. Michael’s goalkeeper Megan Burnham, who was responsible for nine saves on the day. In the Taos net, Amiree Olivas had to contend with 20 shots on goal – managing to keep 15 out, but unable to keep five from passing through.
The Lady Tigers will host a first-round match in the state A/4A tournament at Taos Eco Park for the fourth straight year. The girls have yet to travel in the opening round dating back to 2011. However, Taos has also earned a bye in three of the seven seasons – advancing after the team’s first game in every outing except one (2015). The Lady Tigers have been no lower than a No. 7 seed in that same span. This year, Taos will welcome some District 2-A/4A rivals, the Robertson Lady Cardinals – a repeat of their meeting in the quarterfinals in 2011.
The return to Taos for their first-round game will give Lady Tigers fans one more chance to see the seniors in action. The last home game occurred on Oct. 12 against the Monte del Sol Lady Dragons and the seniors on the rosters were honored for their commitment to the squad during a halftime ceremony. The current seniors listed on the roster include Haley Ickes, Nora Steinberg, Isabella Padilla, Cora Cannedy, Zahieh Khweis, Margot Goler and Korah Garner. Many of the seniors have been playing with the team since the eighth grade and have contributed to the team in many positive ways and in various roles throughout their respective careers. Both Padilla and Cannedy also run with the cross-country team.
With the realignment of districts in 2016, the Lady Tigers have found themselves in the middle of the District 5-A/4A standings with identical league records in each of the two seasons. Realignment will occur again next year and Taos soccer teams will be matched with considerably larger schools, such as Los Alamos and possibly a few Albuquerque teams.
In the meantime, the current A/4A tournament game will take place at Taos Eco Park Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. Entry into the park is $8 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and members of the military.