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Lady Coyotes drop tough match to Bulldogs

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Roswell Lady Coyotes varsity soccer player, Yajayra Castillo (16) and co-captain of her team almost scores a goal on this play but the Artesia goalie was able to stop and save the ball for the Bulldogs at the last second as the Lady Coyote was able to penetrate inside the Bulldogs goal but came up short in the first half period. (David Rocha Photo)

The Roswell High Lady Coyotes could not use a sizeable shot advantage to translate into a win as the visiting Artesia Lady Bulldogs took a tight 1-0 win at Cielo Grande Soccer Complex. With the win, the Bulldogs are now in the driver’s seat of District 4-5A at 2-0, while the Coyotes remain in second place at 1-1.

The Bulldogs, having locked up their first winning season since the ‘11 year, took advantage of a lone Coyote error in the 49th minute to get the lone goal and then hang on for the win.  The Bulldogs’ Elisa Cardenas grabbed a misplayed ball and scored unassisted and the Coyotes (8-8 overall) could not answer.

“We probably dominated the whole game,” stated Coyote coach Samantha Ward of the frustrating loss. “First half and second half. We told them at half time, the first team to make a mistake, the opposing team was going to capitalize on it, and that’s exactly what happened tonight. We had our chances and they had a handful of shots. We had about 30 shots, but it all came down to one goal. It was a good game – an even match.”

The Coyotes would dominate most of the first half of play as they would control the Bulldogs three big players – Cardenas, Sadi Butler, and Adrianna Baeza – and allow only one shot on goal for the entire half.

“We told them before the game, that (Cardenas), number nine (Butler), and number 20 (Baeza) were their key players, and she (Cardenas) was the one to score,” explained Ward.

The Coyotes would get plenty of opportunities to score – the first came from senior Danielle Banda, the district leader in goals scored.  In the 8th minute, she would run down a long goalie kick and get behind the defense, but could not get a strong shot off. Ten minutes later, she would get another good chance, but her shot would go just high.

With the back row of Macey Martinez,  Yajayra Castillo, and Zarriah Herrera completely shutting down the Bulldog offense, the Coyotes continued to take advantage at the other end. Banda would again get another great attempt in the 34th minute off of a goalie miscue, but the ball would not find the net.

The Coyotes got one more real good look at a goal in the 37th minute, but Kaleigh Holloway’s shot was just high.  Her shot came from the top of the box off of one of the numerous Coyote corner kicks.

Both teams had great scoring attempts in the opening minutes of the second half. Aaliyah Cobos for the Coyotes just missed after getting a nice feed from Banda, while Butler missed high off of a corner kick.

A few minutes later, Cardenas scored the aforementioned goal to give the 1-0 lead that they would never relinquish.  The score was identical to the earlier match between the two sides when they played in the semi’s of the Alien City Classic.

“It comes down to one goal, one error,” said Ward. “It just means that the coaches and I have a lot of work to do to get the girls ready for Goddard on Saturday.”

Both teams would play on pretty even terms for the remainder of the game as the Bulldogs defense remained solid and the Coyotes, in turn, did the same.

In the 69th minute, Castillo had a good chance for the equalizer, but Bulldog goalie, Jacqueline Goves, would come up with an impressive save.  The Coyotes had another great opportunity to tie – in the 76th minute – as Holloway took a great feed from Martinez, but her shot was just high and to the left.

The Coyotes, seeking their first district title since 2012, now have a few days to regroup before their match with the Goddard Rockets on Saturday afternoon.  The Rockets tied Lovington on the road 2-2 in their district match Tuesday evening.

Coach Ward is still optimistic of her team’s chance of that elusive district title. “Right now, we are ranked 9th and Artesia is ranked 8th. We knew this was a big game tonight, but that doesn’t mean we are out. We win the next four, we can still host (a state playoff game).”