Home Sports Local Sports Goddard girls look to bounce back from last season

Goddard girls look to bounce back from last season

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Goddard played in the Alien City Tournament and won their first game on Friday. Goddard is undefeated and sits 4-0 on the season. (Steve Notz Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Last season wasn’t easy for Goddard soccer coach Jamie Martinez, not after winning the district crown for the last four years in a row. Martinez suffered through one of his worst seasons as a coach going, 4-14-2, after losing 15 seniors.

The team will still be young, as they were last season. This year’s time will consist of five seniors to go along with four juniors with the rest of the team being sophomores and freshmen. Last season was one in which they took their lumps and suffered growing pains.

This season has started off differently for the Lady Rockets and coach Martinez has adopted a new strategy, with new ideas. It seems to have helped as his team is off to a 4-0 start.

“The next seven games is a pretty tough schedule for us,” Martinez said. “I planned it that way to see where we are at. I think we will do very well. We’re a young team and a lot of the team took a thumping last year. They were just a young and inexperienced team. By the end of the year, I had no varsity experience. This year we have plenty of experience. Kids have stepped up very well.”

Martinez believes they will have a good thing, especially because of the changes he has made. Martinez believes there are several players standing out right now in senior, Val Hernandez, along with sophomore Arianna Perez and with freshmen Alexis Hoover and Annalicia Salas. Martinez believes that his team is coming together.

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Martinez will run a 4-4-2 along with as 4-3-3 and vary their scheme depending upon who they are playing. Some of the variations are new to the girls.

“We just kind of put a twist on things,” Martinez said, “depending upon who we have out there.”

One of the team strengths is their depth. Martinez noted that last season they did not have depth. This year he can have a starting person and one to back them up. He feels like the best part of his team is its versatility where he can plug in a girl to play six or seven positions.

Martinez feels like one of the strengths of the team will be his goalkeeper, sophomore Emily Mathieson.

“She’s outstanding,” Martinez said. “Since last year she has improved tremendously, she’s an awesome goalie.”

Martinez knew he needed to change his system up to be competitive again, this after coaching wrestling for 28 years. He is glad his team bought in as the results are paying off.

“I think the biggest surprise has been that everybody has bought in,” Martinez said. “Everybody has bought into the new system and new ideas to play at the top level. So far it has been positive and every day the girls have gotten better and better and it has shown through their ball-handling skills, conditioning and their mannerism and their positiveness. They can compete with anyone.”

Martinez doesn’t believe that the reclassification will hurt his team. He feels like they have played them before and won so this is nothing new. The reclassification will be Artesia, Portales, Lovington and Goddard.

After the next seven games, they will play district foe Artesia, in which they’ve beat them 3-2 already this season.

Goddard begins their seven-game stretch at 5 p.m on Friday at home.

Roswell

Roswell will be young.

No one that saw Roswell come back under the capable hands of coach Samantha Ward will forget how she took a team that was likely to miss the playoffs and steered them on a winning streak, which did not stop until they played the No. 1 seed Albuquerque Academy Chargers where they would lose, 4-0 in the quarterfinals.

To get to that point is what coaching career  are made. The Lady Coyotes beat Artesia twice to advance in the playoffs, and they did it with Kaleigh Holloway and Danielle Banda as they went 5-1 in district play and won Ward’s first district title as a coach. Ward has put her imprint on the program since she took over in 2012, going 67-70-3.

“We are looking for Kayleigh (Holloway) to score goals for us every game,” Ward said. “She is a leader and our captain.”

With losing nine seniors it wasn’t the sheer number in as much as who she lost in Maddie Battle as the goalkeeper — she played her best down the stretch, a position Ward will have to replace. Yajayra Castillo who was voted District Player of the Year and Danielle Banda who is playing college soccer in Texas.

The cupboard is not all bare as Ward will return high-scoring senior Kaileigh Holloway.

The team has started off 2-0 in the Alien City Tournament, beating Lovington,10-0 on Friday and Valencia 4-0 on Saturday.

“Starting off 2-0 is a great confidence booster for our young inexperienced team,” Ward said.

The only starter coming back for the Lady Coyotes on the back lines is junior Zarria Herrera who has taken over in the back.

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Lady Coyotes as they play Aztec who was ranked No.3 last season. This game will show them right where they are early in the season and in what areas they will need to improve upon going forward.

“The key for this season is for us to stay confident,” Ward said. “It’s going to be a tough season with the district changes. Our girls know they can play with anyone.”

Roswell has not changed a lot from last season. Ward likes to keep things the same to where her players can attack. They want to play from the back and play all 11 players. Coming into camp, Ward has stressed that her team be in peak condition and work on their ball skills as well as working on the little things, which she believes will make a big difference going forward this season.

‘My expectations have always been for the girls to win the games they are supposed to win,” Ward said. “We want to compete in every contest. Winning district every year is the goal for the team. It would mean a lot to the coaches but more to the girls to compete and take a chance at winning district.

The Lady Coyotes play at 5 p.m., today against Portales at Cielo Grande Soccer Complex.