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Martinez leads Goddard girls soccer back to playoffs

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Goddard Rockets won the soccer title in district 4-4A as they defeated Portales, 4-1 on Saturday to go 5-0-1 in district play and 10-7-2 overall. Alexis Hoover scored three goals and Ambrosia Teasyatwho added one goal. (Submitted Photo)

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It was a rough season last year, something that Goddard head soccer coach Jamie Martinez was not used to. After all, he had won the district four years in a row. The record might not have been impressive, 10-7-2, but the Lady Rockets were outstanding during district play at 5-0-1.

“I thought we would do well,” Martinez said. “We had 15 seniors a couple of years and last year we took our lumps. My girls are starting to get healthy and we’re getting some of them back, which is good.”

Martinez was the former Goddard wrestling coach for 27 years before he finally retired. He got involved in soccer to coach his daughter and spend more time with her. He has stayed and feels like this year’s team is coming around.

After last season, Martinez knew he had to change his ways and the way the team played. He did that and went to a new system. He played a more demanding schedule and more teams from up in Albuquerque. There was a stretch of seven games where his team played higher-ranked teams and playoff teams from last season.

“Last year I had a bunch of really young kids,” Martinez said. “We changed some things around and it added some dynamics to the team and the girls have bought in and it worked out well. As three seasons went on, the girls have gotten better and better, I thought we would have a playoff game.”

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Even though they lost some of their games, Martinez never lost faith in his team and told them so. He was pleased with their progress and the way they competed, game in and game out. With the reclassification, Artesia is the only team that made it out of the district to the playoffs this season.

Goddard has gotten great efforts from leading scorer freshman Alexis Hoover and Madison Miranda, along with team play from all-state track star Destiny Lawrence, Val Hernandez and Ambrosia Teasyatwho, among others.

“Overall, everyone has stepped up,” Martinez said. “I’ve moved some girls in different positions and they were hesitant at first, but soon accepted their positions and it has worked out well for us. Being home for a playoff game is kind of stressful because you have to get it done. Each team is down to a one-game season, and you have to get it done.”

For all of their hard work, the Lady Rockets are ranked No.6 and will host a playoff game against Grants Saturday at 11 a.m. The Pirates on the season (15-5 overall and 4-4 in district), are behind Los Lunas and St. Pius X.

Grants plays the same 4-3-3 as Goddard and Martinez expect to make adjustments during the game. The Lady Pirates do not have a main scorer but are lead by a couple of freshmen in Colette Tena who leads the team in scoring with 17 goals on the season and next is eighth-grader Kylette Garcia with 14.

“We played Hope Christian,” Martinez said, “earlier in the year when they were ranked No.2 in the state. If we play well, I feel like we can play with them. Soccer is one of those sports that you have to make adjustments on the go during the game. We just have to play a good game on Saturday. We just have to take this game and not look ahead and take it one game at a time. We’re awfully excited.”

Goddard girls will host Grants at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

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