The Goddard Lady Rocket soccer team has suffered through a trying season and hadn’t tasted victory since Sept. 19th, but on Saturday, they put together arguably their best performance of the year, beating Lovington 7-1 in district action. The Rockets got a hat trick from Arianna Perez and used a big early lead to gain the elusive win.
“That was probably the most complete game of the year,” stated a happy coach Jaime Martinez. “The whole season, we would play 30 minutes a half and each half we would have a five-minute breakdown and we would get behind and try to play catchup. At this level, we can’t do that. We have played the whole season stressed with trying to keep up the tradition of winning district, and I told them to just have fun. They played well.”
The Lady Cats (5-12-1) had managed a draw with the Rockets on their home pitch, but were simply outgunned in the Rockets’ last home game.
The Rockets opened the scoring early in the game as Perez scored 5 minutes in after Val Hernandez ran down a long ball on the right side and fed a perfect pass to Perez to make it 1-0.
With the Rockets controlling most of the touches, they started to get shots off. Hernandez had one clang off the post in the 12th minute and then 3 minutes later, Perez again scored. This time she lofted one in high to make it 2-0.
Two minutes later, it was 3-0 as senior Haley Sanchez booted one in right inside the right low corner. She caught a perfect pass from Destiny Lawrence who had just entered the game.
The Rocket defense, meanwhile, was playing very well as the back row of Grace Shea, Alex Nesselrodt, Areli Sanchez and Keidy Martel were shutting down most of the Wildcats’ attacks – especially against speedy eighth-grader Celest Dominguez.
Perez would get her hat trick in the 26th minute when she rebounded a saved shot and booted past a downed goalie. The shot was initiated by Julie Martinez, who controlled the ball in the middle, fed Sanchez, who passed to an open Perez.
The 4-0 lead marked the most goals scored by the Rockets in a single game this year and they were not done scoring.
Dominguez would finally get one in the net as she raced past the D and ricocheted one of the goalie to cut the lead to 4-1 at the half.
Hernandez would go untouched down the middle following a free-kick from Nesselrodt and blast one in for a 5-1 lead in the 47th minute. The Cats’ defense was expecting an offsides call that never came.
With the Rockets’ Shea and Nesselrodt draped all over Dominguez, the Wildcats had few second half opportunities. The Rockets’ opportunities continued though.
Coach Martinez was very proud of the way his defense played. “Our defense was our strong point with Alex Nesselrodt, Grace Shea, Keidy Martel, and freshman Areli (Sanchez) along with goalie Emily Mathison. They all stepped up,” she said. “They’ve done well in all of these district games. We had a real tough D.”
The hosts started to dominate as Sanchez had two more great looks at the goal in the 61st minute, but both were saved. Two minutes later, Lawrence, Perez, and Mariah Macks all had good looks, but were turned away.
Hernandez got her second goal of the game as she scored unassisted in the 68th minute and seven minutes later, Sanchez got her second of the game as she stole the ball and went in unassisted for the final 7-1 score.
“Our little freshman, Arianna Perez, got a hat trick and Pinkie (Hernandez) and Haley (Sanchez) got two,” Coach Martinez said. “We just changed things around and I just knew they could play as a team. It was a good win going into our last game with Roswell High.”
The Rockets (4-13-2, 1-3-1 district) have one final game – against Roswell High at Cielo Grande on Thursday at 6 p.m.