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It’s one thing to lose to a higher-classification opponent in soccer. That, for the most part, is often expected in a sport where not only school size but the size and quality of a community’s youth leagues often make a significant difference in the success of the high-school program.

Wins over big schools are a highlight rather than a necessity. The Bulldog soccer team almost got one Saturday, when they were edged in the final moments by undefeated Clovis on the road.

But while the ultimate win/loss record against Class 5A competition means little, it still stings when a team knows it had a chance to do better and simply let it slip.

Such was the case for the ‘Dogs Tuesday in Carlsbad as the boys in orange came up short of the Cavemen, 3-0.

“We played for about 30 minutes until (Carlsbad) scored, and when they did, they scored two goals in 10 minutes,” head coach Phillip Jowers said today. “And it’s just the same thing over and over – we play really well, then we get scored on, we get defeated, and we can’t fix it.”

The Artesia boys regrouped from Carlsbad’s late rally in the sense that the Cavemen were able to tack just one more goal to their tally in the second half, that coming on a penalty kick. But as far as creating opportunities to counter, they never seemed to manifest.

“We played fairly well in the second half, but our problem was mostly mental mistakes,” Jowers said. “These guys know how to play. They’ve just got to start playing.”

With the loss, the ‘Dogs drop to 3-7 on the year as they prepare to open a four-game home stand at 6 p.m. Friday against Los Alamos at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex. They’ll then have another shot at Carlsbad Monday before hosting Roswell High Thursday and Ruidoso Saturday.

“We’re looking forward to Los Alamos, and hopefully, we can get back on track,” Jowers said.

Friday will be League Night at The Mack in recognition of the youth league, and a tailgate will also be hosted at the complex.