Published: 1:23 pm, Sun. Sep. 30th, 2018Updated: 1:14 pm
Sometimes what a team needs is a confidence-booster.
No, such games aren’t going to do much for seeding and selection, and no, they’re not the sort of statement-makers of which bragging rights are made. But for a team that, for example, is coming off a string of five games against higher-classification opponents and one against one of the top-10 schools in their own class, it can be just what the doctor ordered in terms of reminding athletes of what they’re capable.
The Bulldog soccer team’s Achilles heel over the course of that six-game marathon was offense. Apart from a pair of goals in a tight loss to Clovis Sept. 15, the boys in orange had struggled mightily to find the back of the net, and their confidence naturally suffered.
It took them a bit to get going Saturday against Ruidoso at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex, but once they did, the target practice was on.
Midway through the 20th minute of play, senior Carlos Martinez finally broke the seal.
Twenty-four seconds later, freshman Darius Bishop followed suit. Keeping the pedal down, Tomas Gonzales took his turn in the 24th minute to make it 3-0, and Martinez struck again in the 26th with a shot on the open net after leaping over the Warriors’ diving keeper and maintaining control of the ball.
A 4-0 halftime lead in hand, the ‘Dogs picked up where they’d left off to start the final 40 minutes, with John Baca sending a shot past the diving goalie in the second minute, Jerron Morrison firing one in in the 14th, and eighth-grader Cameron Thorp rounding out the 7-0 final in the 18th minute.
It was more than just Artesia’s fourth win of the season. It was closing out the pre-district slate on a high note and a reminder that the start of District 4-AAAA means a fresh start.
Every game from now on can be like that if the Bulldogs put the pieces together, starting Thursday at 6 p.m. against Goddard on the road.
“We will use (the offensive performance) as a springboard going into district,” head coach Phillip Jowers said Saturday. “We are looking at the next six games as if we have a 0-0 record. All the games up till now have been preparation for district.”