It looked like the end of a long day was coming for the Portales High soccer squads on Saturday. Then the Rams struck to pull a stunning upset.
Junior Alejandro Munoz scored on a penalty kick with 1:56 left, the Rams’ third goal in the final 13-plus minutes, and PHS pulled out a 3-2 District 2/1A-3A victory over St. Michael’s at PHS.
District girls leader St. Mike’s cruised in the opening half of the twin bill, beating Portales 9-0, and the Horsemen were on their way in the nightcap before the Rams came alive late.
“We had opportunities early in the game, but their goalie made some really good saves,” PHS boys coach Nathan Dodge said. “This was the best game we’ve played all year.”
Junior Brendan Cullen and senior Geno Palermo scored about three minutes apart midway through the first half, and the Horsemen (12-7, 8-2 district) rode that margin until junior Jose Barron punched in a rebound for the Rams (7-9, 3-5) off a shot by teammate Brandon Gomez to cut the margin in half.
With about six minutes left, junior Dylan Knox scored from about 30 yards out on a direct kick, the ball hitting the crossbar and crossing the goalline to tie it. Munoz then got the game-winner after St. Mike’s was called for a handball in the box.
St. Michael’s came in ranked fourth in Class 1A/3A but, Dodge noted: “The kids came to play today.” It was the Rams’ third win over the Horsemen in the five-year history of the program, Dodge said.
Junior Lane Nichols have five saves in goal for Portales, which outshot the Horsemen on goal 8-7.
Earlier, the Lady Horsemen (15-3, 9-0) got three goals and an assist from freshman Nique Enloe to open a 6-0 halftime lead.
St. Mike’s had a 22-2 edge in shots on goal over the Lady Rams (5-11, 3-5), and a 10-1 margin in corner kicks.
“It was a tough game,” said PHS interim coach Amber Garcia, the former Amber Thomas who was married on Thursday. “The girls played a lot harder in the second half.”
PHS squads close out the regular season with three doubleheaders this week, beginning with non-district matches at Las Vegas Robertson on Monday. They visit district foes Monte del Sol and Desert Academy in Santa Fe next weekend.
Portales 3, St. Michael’s 2
St. Michael’s 2 0 — 2
Portales 0 3 — 3
SM — Brendan Cullen (Noah Kaiser), 17th minute
SM — Geno Palermo, 20th
P — Jose Barron (Brandon Gomez), 67th
P — Dylan Knox, 74th
P — Alejandro Munoz, 77th
Shots on goal — St. Michael’s 7, Portales 8. Saves — St. Michael’s 5, Portales 5 (Lane Nichols 5). Corner kicks — St. Michael’s 7, Portales 5. Records — St. Michael’s 12-7 (8-2), Portales 7-9 (3-5).
St. Michael’s 9, Portales 0
St. Michael’s 6 3 — 9
Portales 0 0 — 0
SM — Nique Enloe, 3:13
SM — name n/a, 10:27
SM — Monse Camarena (Enloe), 15:15
SM — Isabel Chavez, 27:30
SM — Enloe, 35:18
SM — Enloe, 37:32
SM — Ally Weidner, 46:19
SM — Esperanza Cortez, 60:49
SM — Maddie Rockwood, 73:32
Shots on goal — St. Michael’s 22, Portales 2. Saves — St. Michael’s 2 (Annie Berg 2), Portales 13 (Belle Vega 11, team 2). Corner kicks — St. Michael’s 10, Portales 1. Records — St. Michael’s 15-3 (9-0), Portales 5-11 (3-5).