ARTESIA — Roswell high boys head soccer coach James Vernon admitted his team was a little rusty going into Tuesday night’s district contest against the Artesia High School Bulldogs in Artesia.
Vernon said it had been 20 days since the Coyotes last hit the soccer pitch. He said last week’s rains forced some games to be called off. The Coyotes won their league opener Tuesday, 2-1, over the Bulldogs.
Artesia scored the opening goal at the 16:44 mark of the opening half, courtesy of Ian Robson.
Vernon described the first half of play as “sluggish.”
The second half was a different story for the visiting team as Samuel Calvillo tied the score for Roswell at the 6:51 mark. A goal by Robert Madrid gave the Coyotes the go-ahead score with 17:51 left in the game, and ultimately the win.
“In the second half, we came to play,” Vernon said.
Vernon said the Coyotes didn’t take a vacation during the break imposed by Mother Nature last week.
“We practiced outside the gate at Cielo Grande,” Vernon said, adding that he wanted the team mentally prepared.
Vernon said last week’s missed games between Goddard and Lovington will be made up. The Coyotes and Rockets square off this weekend, and Roswell faces Lovington Monday.
“I feel like we played hard,” Artesia head coach Phillip Jowers said after Tuesday’s game. The Bulldogs are 2-1 in league play.
“I have a lot of respect for James Vernon. He’s been doing it for over a decade,” Jowers said. “I think that we still have a very young group of guys and we play a lot harder than we normally do. The boys get up a little bit more when we play Roswell.”
It has been a number of years since the Bulldogs won a district game. Artesia blanked Goddard 5-0 on Sept. 28.
“We had not won a game in district since 2013,” Jowers said. “The game against Goddard was a milestone and a 2-1 loss against Roswell is a milestone as well.”
The Bulldogs picked up their second league win Saturday, shutting out Lovington 3-0.
Artesia takes a break from district play for a few days and will be at Goddard on Tuesday.
Roswell takes on Goddard Saturday afternoon.