Aztec girls, Miyamura boys lead postseason awards
(Editor’s note: The Navajo Times All-Stars for football will be released in next week’s issue.)
The district titles in the prep soccer scene came down to the final week with the Aztec girls and Miyamura boys winning those respective titles.
The Lady Tigers went 9-1 under head coach Leroy Nelson and the Patriots compiled a 7-1 record with Ralph Castaneda at the helm.
Both coaches were named the Times’ Coach of the Year for the 2022 season.
“Wow,” Castaneda said on Monday. “First off, I’m kind of shocked. “This is amazing, but I don’t do this for the awards, so it’s an honor.”
Both teams made the state playoffs with Miyamura losing to No. 7 Albuquerque Highland 10-0 in the first round while Aztec reached the state quarterfinals.
The Tigers beat No. 11 seed Los Lunas Valencia 1-0 before falling short to No. 3 seed St. Pius by a 3-0 count.
“It’s just a privilege for me to be coaching these kids,” Nelson said. “I feel real honored to be the coach of the year and that’s great news.”
The two squads had a few playmakers on their respective squads and they were recognized as players of the year.
Miyamura junior Mateo Herrera earned that distinction for the boys and Aztec freshman Autumn Villanueva for the girls.
In 20 games this season, Herrera made 21 goals and finished with 16 assists for a 58 point total.
“Mateo is real outstanding with his ball skills,” Castaneda said. “He’s always a threat to score. One of the things we tried to do as a team is get him that space he needs to use his teammates.”
Castaneda said they were successful in spreading the ball around, which freed Herrera up to make more goals.
Through 22 games, Villanueva finished with 14 goals and 10 assists for the Tigers for a 38 point total.
“Autumn is highly motivated young lady,” Nelson said. “She’s been playing soccer since she was knee high. I mean, that’s her passion. She wants to set her own destiny as far as helping parents. She wants to pay her way to college with a scholarship. “She’s thinking about college already, even though she’s just a freshman,” he added. “Let alone, her GPA is a 4.1.”
Ethan Villanueva, Aztec
Geoff Austin, Aztec
John Toadlena, Gallup
Kyler Joe, Kirtland Central
Jerrett Guillory, Kirtland Central
Andres Melendez, Kirtland Central
Saul Garcia, Kirtland Central
Mateo Juarez, Miyamura
Jameson Ferguson, Miyamura
Illas Gomez, Miyamura
Ian Castaneda, Miyamura
Sean Spolar, Miyamura
Liam Bia, Rehoboth Christian
Morgan Arsenault, Rehoboth Christian
Garrett Van Slooten, Rehoboth Christian
Raeden West, Rehoboth Christian
Autumn Villanueva, Aztec
Rheala Herrera, Aztec
Estrella Albright, Aztec
Erica Roberts, Aztec
Ella Serrano, Bloomfield
Alivia Waite, Bloomfield
Juleima Jazquez, Bloomfield
Desirea Gurule, Bloomfield
Jessi Curry, Farmington
Brenna Becenti, Gallup
Jessenia Garcia, Kirtland Central
Madison Manuelito, Kirtland Central
Kylie Haws, Kirtland Central
Sydney Smith, Kirtland Central
Whitney Haws, Kirtland Central
Taniel Espinosa, Miyamura
Tryshelle Trujillo, Miyamura
Aja Francisco, Miyamura
Rebekah Adcock, Miyamura
Davanise Levato, Navajo Prep
Jaci Hood, Navajo Prep
Naima Joe, Navajo Prep
Jasmine Chase, Navajo Prep
Maggie Van Drunen, Rehoboth Christian
Alyssa Chavez, Rehoboth Christian
Alieda Zlystra, Rehoboth Christian