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Lady Coyotes fall to Academy

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Roswell’s (Black uniform #2) Kaileigh Holloway takes a shot on goal against Albuquerque Academy (White uniform #2) Megan Martin in quarterfinal at the state tournament on Thursday. The Lady Coyotes would lose 4-0, ending their season. (J.T. Keith Photo)

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ALBUQUERQUE — Amid the tears and hugs of the nine Roswell seniors, one thing was certain; the clock struck midnight on them. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but when all things are equal, bigger, better and faster wins, nine times out of 10.

The Lady Coyotes gave the No. 1 seed Albuquerque Academy a scare Thursday. For a half, they played defensive football and kept them from scoring. Roswell’s goalie Maddie Battle played one of the best games of her career as she stopped 17 shots on goal in the first half.

In the second half, the Chargers adjusted their offensive pressure on the Coyote defense. The Chargers continued to attack the middle of the field, loading three players in front of the goal. Instead of rushing their shots, they increased their offensive pressure and swarmed Battle with another 13 attempts, until they scored four goals to defeat the Coyotes 4-0 at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex Thursday afternoon.

“My team, we all played really good together,” said junior Kaileigh Holloway. “We’ve worked really hard to get here. I’m proud of my team, after half they (the Chargers) made adjustments. They have a really solid back line, and we’re trying to make them run so we could score, but we couldn’t.”

Time of possession was the key to the game as Roswell had the ball for 15 minutes of the game, and had 12 shots on goal for the game. The Chargers’ speed blazed through as they ran away from the Lady Coyotes on breaks or caught them from behind. Roswell never had an uncontested shot on goal, every shot they attempted was made under duress.

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“We had a really good first half,” said Roswell senior Yajaura Castillo. “We came out and played really, strong. It was just little mistakes, and they figured out how we were going to defend them, and they got past us. My team played well, and the girls next year will come back and get them. It’s sad, and I’m going to miss playing with the girls.”

For the last two years, the Lady Coyotes have gotten to this point, only to come up short. This year has been even more gratifying because at one point, they were playing without six starters. Coach Samantha Ward managed to keep the team in playoff contention and get them healthy to advance to this point of the season. This loss snaps a six-game Roswell winning streak.

“They had the ball for a majority of the time,” Ward said. “They are not the No. 1 team in the state for no reason. We came out strong and had a good first-half, taking it to 0-0 at half. They’re just good, really, really good.”

The Chargers passed the ball fast, and seemed to pick up the tempo in the second half, when Roswell was only able to attempt three shots on goal. The altitude seemed to make a difference as Ward substituted very little, her team seemed to wear down in the second half from chasing the faster Chargers.

The one player Roswell had to stop was Charger Eliza Mariner. Mariner was shut out the first half, but scored three goals at the 44th minute of the game, the 64th minute of the game and the 67th minute of the game. The last goal came at the 70th minute mark of the game.

“We played our hearts out,” Holloway said. “I’m really grateful to play with these girls one last time at state.”

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