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David Barnes sprints upfield after knocking the ball away from a Lobo midfielder during the second half of the ‘Dogs’ game against Chaparral Saturday at The Mack. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

It wasn’t the best of days on the pitch for the Bulldog soccer team Saturday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex.

But what doesn’t kill the team will have to teach it one very important lesson, head coach Phillip Jowers says – that they’re capable of competing with any opponent, provided they show up with a mind to do it.

“They have the tools,” Jowers said Saturday. “Their heads are just keeping them from doing it. They have the skill, they have everything it takes – they just have to execute. And they have to believe in themselves before they can.”

The ‘Dogs came up on the short end of bouts against a pair of Class 5A opponents on a hot, sunny day at The Mack, dropping the day’s opener to Deming, 3-1, and falling to Chaparral later in the afternoon, 2-0.

The Deming loss in particular was a hard one to swallow, as Artesia was clearly the better team. The boys in orange outshot the Wildcats 19-8 but could not find the back of the net, scoring their lone goal in the 18th minute of the first half on a deflection off of Oscar Merraz on the assist by Cesar Leyva.

That made it 2-1 at the break, as the ‘Cats had scored just a minute-and-a-half into the contest and again at the 17:02 mark on a corner kick.

The majority of the second half was a defensive battle, but Deming was able to log one last goal in the 33rd minute on a shot from point-blank range.

“We should’ve won that won,” Jowers said. “We have got to finish the ball better. We outshot them by 50 percent, we know we outplayed them… we  just have to finish.”

Chaparral was a more lopsided affair.

While the Bulldogs appeared evenly matched with the Lobos overall, they struggled to control the ball. As such, Artesia managed just a handful of shots on goal to Chaparral’s 14.

The Lobos notched both of their goals late in the opening half, and the ‘Dogs could do nothing to counter in the second. That game – as was the match between Chaparral and Deming – was shortened from 40- to 30-minute halves due to the heat and the back-to-back nature of the games.

“We had our opportunities in that one, we just couldn’t get anything going,” said Jowers. “Like I said, they have to believe they can do it, and I don’t know that they believed they could beat Chaparral – and after losing to Deming, it was even more of a mental thing.”

The Bulldogs (5-6) are next slated to host Carlsbad at 6 p.m. Tuesday at The Mack, but it has yet to be determined whether that game will go on as planned due to the school closures resulting from Artesia’s boil water order.

Information will be posted at twitter.com/ArtesiaSports and facebook.com/ArtesiaBulldogSports as it becomes available.