Twice as nice!

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Tuesday night’s cluster of lightning strikes in the Las Vegas area caused no known injuries, but the Robertson girls’ soccer team got a charge out of them anyway.

Through the first 26 minutes and 12 seconds of Robertson’s home finale with Pojoaque, neither team could muster enough offensive chances to take control of the game. Then the first lightning bolts flashed along the western skyline, and officials declared a mandatory 30-minute delay.

After action resumed at RHS Field, it took less than two minutes for Lady Cardinal Elena Martinez to zip up the right side of the box and slice a shot into the Elkettes’ net. With 12:48 left in the first half, Robertson led 1-0.

The score did not change, though the weather conditions got worse. Raindrops began to pelt the field, gusts made it even chiller, and the lightning show returned.

With roughly 19 minutes left in regulation, referees again ordered teams off the field as the sky lit up to the southwest. With nightfall approaching, the game was called.

Tuesday’s win clinched Robertson’s fourth consecutive District 1 1A-3A girls’ soccer championship under head coach Ray Parks.

The team was to play at Moreno Valley Thursday in Angel Fire before closing the regular season Saturday at Portales in a non-district contest.

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On Wednesday, Robertson’s boys’ team wrapped up its strong regular season with a 10-0 stomping of Questa, putting the finishing touches on another district title for coach Clarence Montoya and his bunch.

RHS is 12-6 overall and 7-1 in District 1. The lone district loss was a 1-0 setback against Moreno Valley on Sept. 28 that was avenged by a 6-0 rout on Oct. 3.

Henry Robertson, who’d go on to score a hat trick for the second time in a week, kicked the first two goals. The first came two minutes after the opening whistle. The second, set up by a pretty header off the noggin of junior Aaron Padilla, was punched in in the 10th minute.

Just three minutes after that, freshman Joshua Hidalgo scored to make it 3-0.

Montoya pulled some of the Cardinals’ leading scorers off the field midway through the half, and the score stayed 3-0 at intermission.

It took RHS just 45 seconds to add to the lead after halftime; Casey McElroy — one of seven seniors on this squad — did the honors.

On a give-and-go play, Hidalgo assisted senior R.J. McNellis with 35:15 left. And the same two teamed up for the next goal as Hidalgo scored in the 47th minute.

Robertson drilled his third goal of the afternoon in the 51st minute, padding the Cardinal lead at 7-0 and prompting Montoya to again rest his stars and get his younger players some time.

Eighth-graders Brandon Maes and Brandon Trujillo teamed for a goal with 23:50 left, driving up the middle of the zone. It would be the only score during a 15-minute span with most RHS starters on the bench.

With 14 minutes left, Montoya turned the game back to his starters. But Questa bunkered in on defense and didn’t allow another goal until Robertson, assisted by senior Justin Abreu, connected in the 78th minute.

McElroy tacked on a last-minute score to shave seconds off of regulation.

Round-robin play for the first round of state is set for Oct. 30-31 at campus sites to be announced this coming weekend. Check the Optic next week for details.