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Five NMAA Teams to Watch in the Fall of 2022 (Girls Soccer)

Article & Photos by Jonathan Noah Padilla

As we begin looking forward to the coming season, I want to highlight a few NMAA Girls Soccer teams I think everyone should watch this fall. In no particular order, they are:

Hope Christian Huskies

Hope Christian celebrates a goal scored in the 2021 NMAA Girls 4A Championship.
© 2022 Bandit, Jonathan Noah Padilla.
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The previous two seasons for Hope Christian have been nothing short of spectacular. They have now been to consecutive NMAA 4A Championships and are the defending State champions. Despite losing 4 seniors from that championship team, they should be able to continue playing at a high level with the returning talent. This team can definitely go back-to-back and I look forward to catching a few of their games this season.

Notable returners: Savanah Sanchez, Ashlyn Salas, Zylee Dominguez, and Dylan Rees.

St. Pius Sartans

St. Pius celebrates after a scored goal in the 2021 NMAA 4A Girls Championship.
© 2022 Bandit, Jonathan Noah Padilla.
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I will give you one guess as to whom Hope Christian has played in those two consecutive championships. If you said St. Pius X then you are correct. The Sartans beat the Huskies in the first championship showdown two seasons ago. They then finished as the 2021 NMAA 4A runner up. St. Pius will take a hit losing seven 2021 seniors, but I believe they will be a fierce opponent to face on the pitch in the fall. Don’t be surprised to see this team bounce back this coming season.

Notable returners: Eva Suarez, Gianna Maldonado, Mykel Torres, and Natasha Montoya

Centennial Hawks

Ysabella Montoya, goalkeeper for the Centennial Hawks.
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Centennial is a program I have been impressed with the past couple years. Coach Reyes consistently brings a solid squad from down south. I imagine next season should be no different. They have quite a few voids to fill, but if the returning seniors step up they should be right in the mix come playoff time.

Notable returners: Natalie Boylston, Maddy Anderson, Lauren Ocampo, and Ysabella Montoya

Carlsbad Cavegirls

Carlsbad MF/D, Abbey Dugan, looks at the play in the 2021 NMAA 5A Girls Championship.
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The Cavegirls came up short in last year’s championship game. They have been there for two straight seasons. Carlsbad will be missing a huge asset as Alexa Dugan is now graduated. With back-to-back years of championship game experience, this team should be strong enough to make it back to the playoffs. Watching Carlsbad isn’t an easy task to do as they are way down in southeastern New Mexico, but you can be sure that I will be at any of their games when they travel up north this season.

Notable returners: Abbey Dugan, Allie Myers, Korrine Bradford

Cibola Cougars

Cibola midfielder, Ava Carpentier, dribbles the ball in the 2021 NMAA 5A Girls Championship.
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Defending 5A State Champions. Cibola has a good core of returning players who should be able to pick back up right where they left off. It will be tough to replace the 2021-22 Gatorade Player of the Year Emily Aguilar as well as Mercedes Morris and Rylee Tafoya but this team should have plenty of fire power to be competitive. I think their defensive line will be one of the toughest to go against.

(Also, shout out to Coach Weihe! He was my calculus teacher in high school. Congrats on taking home a blue trophy. I am happy for you.)

Notable returners: Brooke Volza, Ava Carpentier, Joyce Sanchez, and Addyson Carpentier

Other Notable teams to watch: La Cueva Bears, Hobbs Eagles, Rio Rancho Rams, Volcano Vista Hawks, Albuquerque Academy Chargers

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© 2022 Jonathan Noah Padilla.

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