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The Lady Bulldog soccer team kicked off its 2016 campaign with a win and ended its opening weekend with a third-place trophy at the Goddard Invitational in Roswell.

The Artesia girls shook off the inevitable first-game rust Friday afternoon against Portales, taking a 10 lead at the half and going on to defeat the Ramettes 5-1.

“It was a little rough,” coach Tim Trentham said Saturday. “It was everybody’s first game of the season, we’re still in the feeling-out process, but we were well enough ready to be able to get a win in that one.”

Senior Raina Wesson and junior Elisa Cardenas both logged a pair of goals in the opener, while eighth-grader Sadi Butler added one.

The Lady ‘Dogs were able to identify a number of areas in need of fine-tuning following their match against Portales but had no time to address them before stepping out again Saturday morning against District 4-AAAAA foe Goddard.

“It’s tough when you start the season with a tournament,” said Trentham. “You don’t really have time to adjust and work on things. Goddard is a pretty fast and aggressive team, and we just weren’t ready for the pace of that.”

The Lady Rockets compiled a 3-0 lead over Artesia by the break and would maintain it through the second half for the win.

“We had a better showing in the second half,” said Trentham. “Last year at this tournament, they beat us 6-0, so that’s a better start. They’re a solid team that’s been playing together for quite a while, so we’re not too disappointed with that finish.”

The Lady Bulldogs put the loss behind them and regrouped Saturday afternoon against Valencia. Despite showing signs of fatigue, Artesia was able to blank the Lady Jaguars 3-0, with Cardenas posting two goals and Wesson one.

“We played pretty well,” said Trentham. “We might’ve done a little better, but everybody’s legs were just shot by the end of three games in two days.”

Overall, Trentham said he was pleased with the effort he saw from his athletes, particularly his untested goalies.

“We’ve got two really inexperienced keepers,” he said, “so for what they did, just seeing growth from both of them over the course of the whole tournament, that was a good, shining moment for us.

“Our defense played pretty well. We had two new defenders playing real well together, so that was exciting. There are just the bits and pieces, of course, that you need to fix at the start of every season.”

The Lady ‘Dogs won’t have much time for practice prior to their next road game Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Hobbs but will then have a week off before hosting their home opener at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, against Ruidoso at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex.