Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Three games into the season and the Hobbs boys’ soccer team has already played three double overtime games. The last came Saturday afternoon as the Eagles beat visiting Roswell 1-0 at Watson Memorial Stadium.
“It is a little crazy. We have been able to go, defensively speaking and play it. Offensively, I think we need a little work,” Hobbs coach Jose Mares said. “But we are not getting scored on. The three games have been low scores. Today was 1-0, Thursday was the same and Tuesday was 2-1 (a loss). It is a low scoring game, but we are able to keep that intensity up for almost 100 minutes.”
Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, the Eagles played at Roswell in their season opener. The Eagles lost that game 2-1 in double overtime. Two days later the Eagles hosted Clovis in their home opener and won 1-0, in double overtime.
“If you lose to a team you always want to win the second time,” Hobbs’ Dominic Ocon said. “It was more of battle for the better team, the better school.
“There are many disadvantages to that,” Ocon said of playing Roswell twice in the same week. “You are tired and you play more games, but it is also good because they don’t have time to practice any new strategies, so you know what they are going to do and you are able to cover that more effectively.”
Saturday afternoon it was more of the same. Neither team was able to score a goal during regulation. The Eagles had 10 shots during regulation, four in the first half and six in the second half. Roswell had only two shots during regulation, both coming in the second half.
“They are quality,” Roswell head coach James Vernon said of the Eagles’ soccer team. “They work the ball well. We are a young team. We lost 13 seniors from last year and we are trying to regroup and kind of get something going.”
With 2:20 left in the second overtime period, Zaid Avila took a pass from Ocon and shot the ball past the Coyotes’ goalkeeper to win the game.
“It was a team effort,” Avila said of his game-winning goal. “I was nervous. I didn’t know if I was going to make it when I took the shot. … It felt great. It got the win for our team.”
While Ocon didn’t score the game-winner, he did take pride in setting up the play that allowed Hobbs to score.
“I saw the defender out of position and I knew that I could take him,” Ocon said. “I just ran it and I was able to see Zaid open. I got the ball to him so he could take that shot. It felt good to set him up and help my team out for the win.”
Vernon said the Coyotes made a change late in the second overtime that led to his team’s loss.
“The last three minutes, we shifted a formation and put three defenders in the back and that kind of bit us in the rear end on that one,” Vernon said. “That was my mistake. That was my call. … Right when we shifted, (Hobbs) just came right down and scored.”
The Eagles had two free kicks during the first half, but failed to get the ball close to the net either time. Hobbs had plenty of chances to score in regulation, but factors outside of their control got in the way. The Eagles were flagged nine times for being offside, three times in the first half, four in the second half and twice during the first overtime period. Coincidently enough, the only period the Eagles did not get flagged for being offsides was the period in which they scored.
Roswell’s best chance at scoring came with 30:30 left in the second half. The Coyotes took a shot that bounced off the crossbar of the goal and ricocheted back to a Coyote who attempted another, but Eagles’ goalkeeper, Tristan Zambrano, came up with the save.
Back on the field for the first time this season, Zambrano got the win and the shutout. Zambrano was out the first two games with a knee injury. The senior goalie recorded three saves against the Roswell offense.
“You see and hear Tristan on the field and I think that is what the guys needed, is somebody with a little bit of guidance out there,” Mares said. “He is a captain. He has been starting and seated three seniors since nine, 10, and 11th grades. He his big on the field.”
With the loss, Roswell falls to 1-1 on the season with both games being played against Hobbs. The Coyotes will be back in action on Tuesday when they host Carlsbad in the Cavemen’s season-opener.
“They don’t like to lose,” Vernon said. “But hey, you have to get it sometime. It is all just experience and work from there.”