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It was clear from the start Tuesday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex that the bout between the Bulldog soccer team and NMMI was to be predominantly evenly matched.

As the bulk of the battle played out at midfield, both the ‘Dogs and Colts mixed in a few solid offensive looks, but neither could find the back of the net in the opening 40 minutes.

It was going to take nothing less than a perfectly­placed shot, and unfortunately, just over one minute into the second half, NMMI placed it.

The close­range boot past a diving Aaron Natera gave the Colts a cushion and put the Bulldogs on the offensive for the remainder of the contest.

They had their chances, outshooting NMMI in the half and just missing the tie on a number of free kicks.

But the Artesia boys were unable to secure the elusive goal they needed, and with just over a minute to go, the Colts took advantage of a miscue to punch in a second and round out the final, 2­0.

It was a frustrating loss for the ‘Dogs, who competed well overall and matched NMMI’s physicality at midfield. And on the heels of a 3­0 loss to Portales Saturday on the road, it dropped the squad to 1­5­1 on the year.

Artesia will have no time to dwell, however, as their gamut of a week continues at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Alamogordo.

After taking on the Tigers, the Bulldogs will head to Chaparral Saturday for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. games against Santa Teresa and Deming respectively.