Published: 1:38 pm, Wed. Sep. 6th, 2017Updated: 1:38 pm
But the Bulldog soccer team showed no signs of the doldrums Tuesday in the tall, cool pines, besting Ruidoso – whom they defeated 8-3 Aug. 29 at The Mack – 9-1 to improve to 3-3 on the year.
The ‘Dogs went on an early tear and never looked back, compiling a 7-1 lead by the half.
Head coach Phillip Jowers said his squad did a solid job of competing in a new formation, creating multiple quality scoring opportunities and keeping play predominantly on the Warriors’ half of the field.
In all, Artesia outshot Ruidoso 25-3 on the night.
Carlos Martinez, John Baca and Cooper Flores all logged a pair of goals in the bout, while Jesus Valdez, David Barnes and eighth-grader Darius Bishop added one apiece.
Starting keeper Aaron Natera spent the first 40 minutes in goal, saving the only shot lobbed his way, while eighth-grader Santi Gonzalez finished the second half with two saves.
Cesar Leyva – currently New Mexico’s assists leader across all classifications – added four more to his total on the day.
“It’s all just preparation right now, and I thought we did well,” said Jowers. “We looked comfortable in the new formation, we were able to spread the goals around, and Santi did a really good job again of getting some experience in goal.
“And to have somebody who can distribute the ball and spread it around the way Cesar does is a great asset for the team. He’s very unselfish with the ball.”
The Bulldogs will now prepare to return home to host Portales at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Class 4A Rams are 4-0 on the season thus far with wins over East Mountain, Goddard, Pojoaque Valley and Lovington.
“Portales has beaten some good teams,” said Jowers, “so we’re hoping this will be a pretty evenly-matched game.
“I just want to see simple passes and movement off the ball. If we simplify our game and can do that well, then the rest will come. We have a good team chemistry, we just sometimes get complacent, so we have to focus and make sure we’re doing the little things we know how to do.”