The Roswell Lady Coyote soccer team finally put four years of frustration behind them as they won the district 4-5A title – after four years of being runners-up – with a 2-1 win over cross-town foe Goddard. The Coyotes used two goals from Kaileigh Holloway – the second coming in the 77th minute – in the tense, close match to give the hosts the coveted title and trip to the state tourney.
“It feels great,” stated a happy coach Samantha Ward of the Coyote win. “We knew that after Goddard lost those 14 seniors from last year that the district would be up for grabs and we hadn’t won since 2012. This was one of the goals that the girls set at the beginning of the season was to be district champs and so they did well.”
The Rockets finished up a rough season at 4-14-2 and saw their string of four straight district titles come to an end, but fought hard throughout and made the Coyotes earn the win in the season ending match.
“They played very well,” stated Rocket coach Jaime Martinez. “The girls played tough. Roswell High played tough. We had a long year, but the girls ended on a good note. I would have liked to have a win but I think it ended on a good note.”
Martinez continued, “I’m going to miss these five seniors. Alex Nesselrodt, Grace Shea, Esme Rivera, Kayla Koren, and Haley Sanchez. They worked hard all year. We had a young team, but they kept it going with hard work. Good things for next year. We had a lot of positive things this year.”
Both teams played tentatively in the early goings of the match as there were no shots on goal from either team until the 10th minute. The Coyotes slowly took control of the possessions and started to control the mid-line with senior Heather Vasquez controlling things.
Holloway would get the first good look from either team in the 10th minute with a nice shot, but it was saved by Rocket goalie Emily Mathison, one of the many freshman playing for the Rockets.
The Rockets finally got a good look in the 13th minute, but Haley Sanchez’ shot went wide left. The two teams would play pretty evenly with the Roswell back line of Zarriah Herrera, Yajayra Castillo, and Macey Martinez not letting anyone past and the back line of Goddard – led by seniors Alex Nesselrodt and Grace Shea – controlling Holloway and Danielle Banda (the district leader in goals).
“We’ve said it from day one of this season that we have one of the best back lines in the state for 5A,” said Ward of her defense. “I still believe it. We haven’t had a lot of goals scored on us during district play. With our back line and with our keeper (Maddie Battle), it’s been great.”
Holloway finally broke the deadlock in the 21st minute when she broke free and lofted a nice shot over a downed goalie for the initial goal and a 1-0 Coyote lead. The Rockets had a good opportunity for the equalizer four minutes later, but a corner kick went awry.
The Coyotes continued to control most of the touches, but the Rocket D held and Mathison would make more saves late to make it 1-0 at the half.
The second half was more of the same as the Coyotes would take control early in the half and keep the game at 1-0 throughout. The Rockets had a great opportunity to tie in the 60th minute, but Sanchez’ shot ricocheted of the post and the Coyotes would escape.
The Rockets would start to put on the pressure as the game wore on and they finally got the tying goal with five minutes to go. After Julie Martinez was flattened just outside the box to draw the foul, Nesselrodt booted in the ensuing free kick to make it 1-1.
The Coyotes would immediately answer as Holloway would get a header to score with three minutes to go and the Coyotes would hang on for the win and the district title.
“Holloway likes to win,” said Ward. “She doesn’t like to lose. She is one of the biggest competitors I have ever coached. She knows that the team counts on her a lot up top – her and Danielle (Banda). Danielle had a great game also – she had a lot of opportunities. Those two work well together.”
The Coyotes now wait to see where the seeding committee places them in the 12-team draw for the state tourney. The first round will be played either on Oct 27th or Oct 28th.