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For all but the final minutes of the first half, the Lady Bulldog soccer team gave Class 6A Hobbs a run for its money.

After surrendering a goal in the first nine minutes of play, the Artesia girls stiffened, giving themselves a few chances to tie but, more importantly, staying in the mix against the scrappy Lady Eagles.

“For a long stretch, we played really well,” head coach Tim Trentham said Wednesday. “It’s always a real tough defensive game. Hobbs just presses real high, and you spend a lot of time down around your defensive third, and if not that close to the goal, at least to half on your side of the field.

“We made some corrections after they got that first goal, and for the next 30 minutes, they didn’t score. We played a pretty tight game. We had some offensive opportunities; we didn’t get any real good looks at the goal, but we got some shots from out wide, and we were playing well in the middle.”

With around two minutes to go in the half, Hobbs was able to score again off a corner kick to take a 2-0 lead at the break.

“That kind of deflated the girls a little bit after all the work they’d done that whole first half,” said Trentham.

The Lady Eagles took advantage, catching Artesia on their heels early in the second 40 minutes and keeping them there to pull away for the 5-0 win.

“The second half was very tough for us all around,” Trentham said. “Hobbs stepped up the pressure and stepped up the physicality of the game a little bit, and it kind of took our girls back. We were just making silly mistakes we didn’t make in the first half. I don’t know if we were exhausted from playing that tough and physical in the first half, but we just weren’t the same team in the second half.”

The result against a 6A squad that once regularly mercy-ruled the Lady ‘Dogs was a solid one, particularly as the Artesia team continues to integrate new athletes.

“Our defense is pretty young and new to each other, so to be able to play a game like that against Hobbs in the first half was pretty good on their part,” said Trentham. “Hopefully, this game will kind of toughen them up a little bit and let them know we still have work to do to get to where we want to be.

“That’s what this game always does – reminds them there are better teams out there, and we need to keep looking forward.”

The Lady ‘Dogs will have a week to address the glitches they saw in their game against the Lady Eagles before hosting their home opener at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Ruidoso at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex.