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Cibola eliminates Lady Cats from 6A meet

Staff report

ALBUQUERQUE — Playing in the program’s first postseason competition in 16 years, Clovis High’s girls got off to a tough start on Saturday.

Fifth-seeded Cibola scored an own goal off a Cougars corner kick in just the second minute and went on to beat the Lady Wildcats 2-0 in a first-round Class 6A state soccer matchup at the APS soccer complex.

Clovis (12-7-1), the 12th seed in the 12-team field, hung with the Cougars the rest of the way. Cibola got an insurance goal about 15 minutes into the second half by senior forward Renee Brinson.

“Overall, we played really well,” Lady Cats coach Traci Sievers said. “We were able to do some of the things we’d worked on.

“I think we were able to challenge balls in the midfield and out of the air.”

Cibola outshot the Lady Cats 6-3 on goal. Senior Shelby Jones made four saves in goal for Clovis.

The team made progress this season, winning a pair of District 6-4A matches after not winning one for at least 10 years. Clovis will have to replace nine seniors, Sievers said, including six who were starters.

“We’ve got some young talent coming up,” she said. “It’s going to be hard to replace those seniors; a lot of them have been playing since they were freshmen or even eighth-graders.”

The team loses Jones and three of their four starting defenders.

“Filling those spots will be the biggest challenge,” Sievers said. “But I think we’ve got some depth with some of our younger players.”

The Cougars advanced to a quarterfinal match at 1 p.m. on Thursday against fourth-seeded Rio Rancho Cleveland at the APS complex. The top four seeds had first-round byes.

The 6A championship match is set for 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.