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The Lady Bulldog soccer team made their long trip north count Friday, defeating the Class 5A Jaguars of Santa Fe Capital by a final of 3-1.

Despite a somewhat slow start, the Artesia girls were able to head into the half with a 1-0 edge, and the team settled into their rhythm in the second 40 minutes to combat a more frenetic Jaguar front.

“I thought our play was flat for quite a bit in the first half, but when you travel for four hours, sometimes it’s hard to get mentally and emotionally ready at game time,” Artesia head coach Tim Trentham said Saturday. “Capital had one look early on that shook us a little bit, but fortunately our keeper, Jacque Govea, was able to come up with a pretty good stop for us to make sure we weren’t playing from behind.”

Elisa Cardenas put the Lady ‘Dogs on the board first, driving through a pair of defenders before hammering a shot home from outside the 18.

“She seems to step up in all the right moments and usually gets us our first goal, which then gives us some good momentum,” said Trentham.

Artesia spent the remainder of the first half combating Capital’s speed, which the Lady Jaguars turned up a notch as the second half began.

“Their speed was really kind of working for them against us, because we’re built on speed, too,” Trentham said. “One thing I find is that if we run across anybody who has the speed to negate ours, it takes a while for us to get going.

“They turned up the intensity a little bit in the second half, but we were able to get our second goal off a bal Elisa had taken down the line and shot from outside. Their keeper came out and was able to get a hand on it, but Sadi (Butler) was on the back side to finish.”

A brief miscommunication between Artesia’s defenders allowed Capital their lone goal of the evening, but Butler was able to add one more for good measure in the game’s final minutes on a corner kick.

“It was a little rough, but again, I chalk that up to four hours on a bus and the fact our defense is kind of new-look for now,” said Trentham. “It’ll take us a couple more games to get our feet wet with this defense, but we’ll get back in stride.”

The Lady Bulldogs will have a well-deserved week off before resuming their schedule Saturday at 3 p.m. against Portales on the road.

“We have a lot of stuff to work on,” Trentham said. “To try to help our defense get a little bit of chemistry back as far as shifting and covering and things like that we need to do to slow down attacks, we’re probably going to be doing a lot of full-field scrimmaging.

“It’s a new situation for us, being where we’re at right now with our record and even with our ranking in the state. Each game now seems to weigh a little bit more. It’s not ‘It doesn’t matter whether we win or lose as long as we play well’ anymore. Now that we know we can play well, it’s an expectation to win games, so we’ll try to break up that pressure a little bit this week as a reward for the girls’ hard work.”