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Roswell looks to end stranglehold

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The Roswell High School boys soccer team is seen in action earlier this season at the Cielo Grande Soccer Complex. (David Rocha Photo)

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When you’re just so close to beating a team, sometimes they always seem to do something at just the right time to give them that little extra to win. That must be how the Roswell boys’ soccer team feels when they play Albuquerque Academy. They played them earlier in the year in the Academy Tournament and the lost, 2-0.

“We are a better team than when we played them earlier in the year,” said Coyote coach James Vernon said. “We learned how they play and what they’re trying to do on the outsides is jab our defenders and commit to our midfields. Once our defenders do that, they are going to come and eat us up on the outside. If we can prevent that and get our midfielders back to defend, and our forward to put some pressure on their defenders, we can close those gaps down with them playing the ball through us.”

Today’s game against Los Alamos is for the right to move on and play the winner between the No. 1 team, Albuquerque Academy, or the No. 9 team, Valencia.

“Playing against Los Alamos is always a great sight,” Vernon said. “With Los Alamos, Roswell and Alamogordo, we are the true public schools that should be vying for the state championship. You have Albuquerque Academy and St. Pius X, which are private schools. It is hard to compete against schools who are private, because they can recruit kids, although they say they don’t.”

The Coyotes had a tougher time than expected, beating Deming 3-1 Friday at the Cielo Grande Soccer Complex. In that game, they received goals from Samuel Calvillo, Robert Madrid and Patrick Brown. Senior goalie Adrian Villa Parra made his presence felt by stopping numerous shots on goal, while giving up one. Vernon believes that his goalie, Parra, will continue to compete and play well in today’s game.

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Vernon has been in this position, and is not feeling the pressure of his team having to win on the road and beat a team they have not beaten this year. All along, Vernon has expected his team to be here at the door pushing to get to the semifinals. After replacing 13 seniors from the last year’s team, he is starting to reload instead of rebuilding.

“We have to shut down their midfield,” Vernon said. “That’s No.1, if we can shut down their midfielder (Tristan Semelesberger) he is an awesome player. He does an awesome job of distributing the ball, as well as Arthur Steinkamp and Levon Wiggins. I think we can shut them down and build up momentum to have a good attack.”

Steinkamp leads his team with 23 goals scored on the season with help from teammate Semelsberger, who has scored 15 goals.

The big gun for the Coyotes this season has been Robert Madrid and teammate Calvillo, who has scored eight.

The Coyotes feel like for them to win they must play tight defense and to finish their shots on goals; and mark up their guys (play man-to-man) in the midfield. Los Alamos moves off the ball well.

“If we can shut them down in the midfield, we will have a shot to score some goals,” Vernon said. “We have to finish our opportunities, and that’s what it is going to take for us to win today. We’ll go over our game plan (Wednesday night) and go over it (today), get them up and give them a good talk and be positive. We have seen this team and yes, they beat us, but we can beat them. I’m excited to play these guys.”

Vernon feels like his team is a new team from the team that played the Hilltoppers earlier in the season.

Roswell (15-5, 6-0) plays Los Alamos (14-6, 4-2) at 1 p.m. today at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex on Field 9.