Published: 2:48 pm, Sun. Oct. 21st, 2018Updated: 2:48 pm
After falling to Goddard Oct. 16 to start Round Two of District 4-AAAA play, the Lady Bulldog soccer team was left with one goal atop their immediate list: win out.
To stay comfortable in the assumption they’ll earn a spot in this year’s Class 4A State Tournament and to leave nothing to the dice roll that is seeding and selection, the Lady ‘Dogs needed solid wins in their final two bouts of the regular season against Portales and Lovington.
They checked the first box Saturday with a 3-0 shutout of the Ramettes on the road.
“We knew we have to get both of them,” head coach Tim Trentham said Saturday. “We have to leave no doubt when it comes time for seeding of where we should be, and it goes a long way in convincing them by not letting in goals in district play.
“We let in goals against Goddard, but for the rest of district, we haven’t, and we did a good job of that again Saturday.”
The Lady ‘Dogs took a 1-0 lead into halftime against Portales, that goal scored by freshman Abigail Rios in an opening 40 minutes that was something of a tennis match.
“The first half, it was pretty much just back and forth,” Trentham said. “It was a little chippy, but that’s just the way the game was going.”
In the second half, however, chippy became clobbery as the Ramettes began trying harder to draw blood than score goals.
“It got physical,” said Trentham. “Just as bad as last year up there, if not worse. It got to the point where there was a foul about every two to three minutes, and in some cases, they were really dirty.”
One such foul, which saw a Portales player launch herself at freshman forward Zailor Lopez and throw an elbow to the side of her head, resulted in a penalty kick, which junior Destiny Gonzales delivered to make it 2-0. Lopez would go on to get her goal later in the half to round out the 3-0 final.
“Portales just kind of shot themselves in the foot playing that way,” Trentham said. “They were slowing us down by doing it, but in turn, they were giving away free kicks on their side of the field and weren’t allowing themselves opportunities to take possession and counter off our attack.
“Fortunately, our girls were able to keep their heads and just let them be the aggressors, and we were able to take the game over at that point.”
The Lady Bulldogs (10-6-1, 3-1-1) will now prepare to close out their regular-season campaign at home at 6 p.m. Thursday against Lovington. Artesia topped the Lady Wildcats 5-0 in their first meeting Oct. 13 in Lovington.
“We tend to do well on our home field,” said Trentham. Artesia suffered just a pair of losses at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex this season to Class 5A Clovis and Carlsbad. “It’s the last home game for our seniors, and they’re all excited and ready for that moment.
“I think we’ll step up. We’ve really been talking about what’s on the line lately and making sure they understand they have to show well, and I think they’ll do it. We’re still getting goals from everybody, it’s not just coming from one place, and as long as we keep doing that, we’ll be fine.”