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Lady Bulldog sophomore Sadi Butler breaks away from the Ruidoso defense en route to a goal during the 18th minute of the second half Tuesday at The Mack. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

Coming off of a rough three-game run, the Lady Bulldog soccer team needed a shot in the arm Tuesday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex. They got it – along with 10 successful ones at the goal.

The Artesia girls turned a 4-0 halftime lead into a 10-0 mercy-rule victory over Ruidoso in their second home game of the season, ending the bout with 7:34 remaining and putting their 2018 record back on the plus side, 4-3.

“I thought we did well,” head coach Tim Trentham said today. “With these kinds of games, it’s difficult to tell. Ruidoso had to move up a classification, and that’s not an easy task by any means. It’s the same as when we’re playing Hobbs or Carlsbad – there’s just a lot more talent to choose from in the larger classes.

“But Ruidoso is getting better. They play soccer like it should be played as opposed to the days when they used to sit everybody back in the box and you just had to keep shooting and shooting. Now they’re aggressive, they counter – they do some things to make our defense stay a little bit honest.”

Under the leadership of coach Alan Riches, the Lady Warriors put forth a solid effort against the Lady ‘Dogs in the opening 40 minutes Tuesday, holding Artesia scoreless nearly until the midway point.

A goal at the 25:22 mark, however, was followed by a second a few minutes later, and the Lady Bulldogs closed out their first-half scoring with 10 and four minutes on the clock respectively.

The play would continue to remain predominantly on Ruidoso’s half of the field as the second 40 minutes began, and this time, the Lady ‘Dogs were able to open the offensive floodgates.

Five more goals came over the course of an 11-minute span to quickly place Artesia one shot away from the mercy rule. They secured it with 7:34 to go in the contest.

When the dust had settled, a pair of Lady Bulldogs had earned a hat trick on the day – sophomore Sadi Butler and eighth-grader Loreli Perches – while freshman Zailor Lopez contributed a pair of goals, sophomore Makyla Letcher one, and one score coming on a Lady

Warrior own goal.
“The fact that we can score from a variety of different places with a variety of different girls is really what stood out from yesterday’s game,” Trentham said. “We have three quality finishers, and that’s a good thing – we don’t have to rely on just one person. We’re getting good distribution.

“We had to change our defense up after what we did against Hobbs, so we’re still just figuring each other out right now, figuring out that chemistry on defense. But offensively, when we have opportunities, we’re getting on the ball, making smarter passes, and really coming along there.”

Tuesday’s victory snapped a three-game losing streak that began Aug. 25 at the Goddard Invitational and continued through battles with Class 5A Hobbs and Clovis.

“Yesterday was really what we needed it to be in that the girls were able to relax a little bit and realize they’re not on a sinking ship,” said Trentham. “It was Hobbs. It was Clovis. Let it go; we’re still a quality team. Hobbs is pulling from a high school that’s probably three times bigger than ours, so we just have to put things in perspective, and yesterday did that and kind of got us motivated again.”

The Lady ‘Dogs were shorthanded in all three of those contests, as well, and will be looking to put a better foot forward Tuesday, Sept. 11, when they head to Clovis for a rematch with the Lady Wildcats.

In the week between, Trentham says his team will continue to get comfortable in their new formations.

“We’re just trying to get everybody used to who’s around them so they can build that chemistry,” said the coach. “I’ve had to retool everything a little bit, changing up our formation, trying to figure out our rotation of who’s going where. We scrapped everything after Hobbs and Clovis, so we’re rethinking what’s better for us.

“In doing that, we just have to play more games. Playing in that formation, getting the timing down, all the little nuances are what’s going to help us get better. But the girls are excited to play Clovis again and see what we can do different this time.”

The Bulldog soccer team picked up its second win of the season Tuesday in Ruidoso, 6-0 over the Warriors.

No further details were available as of press time.

The ‘Dogs will now prepare to return to their home stomping grounds Saturday for a bout with Class 1A-3A Hatch Valley.

The Bears currently stand at 3-1 on the year with a pair of wins over Silver City and one against Deming, and a loss to Gadsden.

Varsity action will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex.