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Elisa Cardenas tracks down a loose ball near the 18 during the first half Tuesday against Ruidoso. Cardenas finished with a hat trick on the contest. (Brienne Green - Daily Press)

Elisa Cardenas tracks down a loose ball near the 18 during the first half Tuesday against Ruidoso. Cardenas finished with a hat trick on the contest. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

The Lady Bulldog soccer team wasn’t about to let a little rain get them down Tuesday in their 2016 home opener at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex.

Or a whole lot of rain, either.

Beneath a torrential downpour that lasted the duration of the second half of play Tuesday, the Lady ‘Dogs slogged their way to a 5-1 victory over the Lady Warriors of Ruidoso to improve to 3-2 on the young season.

Artesia led 1-0 at the break and was able to implement a few tactical adjustments despite the difficult conditions to increase their offensive looks in the second half.

“I thought our ball movement was really good,” head coach Tim Trentham said today. “We’re getting smarter. We’re not just looking to play forward, we’re looking to play the width, to drop back – all the things we’ve been working on in practice.

“We don’t want to have our eyes forward all the time. We want to see when it isn’t there and look for different options, whether it’s field switches or utilizing our defense as a way to stretch the other team out more and open up some spaces.”

Artesia dominated the possession game Tuesday, taking 32 shots on goal to Ruidoso’s one. Sixteen of those Lady Bulldog shots came in the first half, with senior Raina Wesson finally breaking the seal with 6:03 to go in the opening 40.

As the rain began to come down to start the second, the Lady ‘Dogs were able to make it 2-0 just over five minutes in on a shot by Elisa Cardenas. The Lady Warriors logged their lone goal at the 29-minute mark, but Cardenas answered with two more for the hat trick midway through, and Wesson tacked on the final goal with 14:25 to go.

“Ruidoso’s defenders really sit back, and there’s not a lot of room to play behind their defense,” Trentham said. “So in the first half, we just tried to use the width of the field and get some shots outside the 18. It was one of those games where you have to keep hammering and hammering, and we eventually got that first goal.

“We made some adjustments in the second half, started attacking from the width a little bit, and that’s when we started getting a lot more opportunities. Attacking wise, we’re still missing some smaller touches up top that could get us through when we’re in smaller, tighter spaces. But we played some people at different positions last night and saw some people flourishing in different spots, so we’re pretty excited about the results.”

The Lady Bulldogs will have a tougher test Friday at The Mack against 5A Capital at 5 p.m.

“We’re just looking for a good, solid game all around,” said Trentham. “We want to continue the ball movement the way we have been and look to utilize everybody on offensive attacks.

“We’re getting there. Capital is going to be a tougher opponent, so we want to see if we can utilize everything we’ve been working on against a tougher team and not resort back to basics when we’re under pressure.”