Published: 12:05 am, Sun. Sep. 1st, 2019
A tie is, without doubt, one of the most frustrating outcomes in sports, but when it comes to a game like the one played Saturday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex between the Bulldog soccer team and Moriarty, sometimes it almost seems fitting.
The Artesia boys and the Pintos battled toothand- nail through two 40-minutes halves and two 10-minute sessions of overtime Saturday, ultimately settling for the draw, 2-2. It definitely didn’t feel like a loss for the ‘Dogs, however, who came back from a 2-0 halftime deficit and just a hair’s breadth from victory in overtime in a game that had no dull moments.
“That was such a good game,” Artesia head coach Phillip Jowers said Saturday. “The sportsmanship was so good. It’s always fun to play a great game like that where everybody involved is just playing hard and fair. That’s the beauty of soccer, and close games like that are fun to watch.”
Moriarty and Artesia were fairly even in terms of shots on goal in the opening half, with the ‘Dogs posting four and the Pintos six. The boys in green made two of theirs count, however, scoring at 7:13 and again off a corner kick at 29:30.
In years past, the Bulldogs might have let frustration over the deficit get the better of them, but they did the polar opposite Saturday, coming out firing and quickly knotting the score.
“We’re doing much better at really coming together as a team and battling back against adversity,” said Jowers.
Artesia logged its first goal just 30 seconds into the half on a shot by Mario Martinez, then pulled even at 2-all just over four minutes later off the foot of Bobo Baca.
From there, both squads had their chances but were unable to find the back of the net, sending the contest into overtime. Through those two sessions, Artesia had the better opportunities to end the game in sudden death, with an off-balance boot rolling just wide of an open goal at one point and a solid shot from Baca missing its mark by mere inches.
“We did a lot better in the second half and in overtime,” Jowers said. “We were pressing more and having more possession on their half of the field. They’re a good team, and that was a good 4A matchup.
Talking to coach [Jordan] Allcorn after the game, we were discussing how fun it is to play games like that where you have such evenly matched teams because it’s back and forth and fun to watch versus just having an outmatched team struggling against another.
“Everybody that came out today… if you can’t get excited about a game like that, then you’re not alive because it was just so intense the whole time.”
The Bulldog fans definitely showed no signs of disappointment, as a sizable crowd turned out to cheer on the Artesia boys.
“The fans today did a great job of really getting loud and supporting everybody,” said Jowers. “The energy is so much better for the boys whenever we have lots of supporters come out. We also had a lot of former players there today who were in town for the three-day weekend, so the boys enjoyed seeing them come back.”
The Bulldogs will now prepare to host Ruidoso at 5 p.m. Tuesday at The Mack, and Jowers hopes to see his squad continue to build on their team motto: “Leave a legacy.”
“We’re really trying to instill that idea in them that when you graduate, when you become upperclassmen, what’s the legacy you want to leave behind,” said the coach. “I think it’s starting to pay off with some of the guys on the team as far as working together and realizing the game is bigger than you. You’re playing for your family, your town, the former players, and you should have that pride of playing for everybody who came before you and everybody who’ll come after you.
“We’re just trying to help them understand that they need to seize the moment and capitalize on it, and I think today was a good example of how they’ve been rising to that occasion.