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Lady Rockets soccer team advances to Albuquerque

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The Goddard girls soccer team poses after they defeated Grants, 1-0 on Saturday in the first round of the playoffs. (Steve Notz Photo)

“I told you guys from day one,” Jamie Martinez said to his team after their 1-0 victory over Grants Saturday. “I believed in you and you needed to believe in yourselves. I told you to take it one game at a time and you did that today and look at what happened.”

With that, the Lady Rockets let out a cheer and said, “Lady Rockets on three. One, two, three, Lady Rockets. Yeah!!!”

For Jamie Martinez, last year was not good. Why? Because he was humbled and his team was embarrassed, young and they took their lumps. What last season’s 4-14-2 record did was get him to open his mind to new concepts and re-evaluate his philosophy and team, which was good.

Martinez knew his team would still be young this season, but he was determined to bring a little new-school technology with an old-school work ethic. He made his team run the stairs and do other things, which they didn’t understand why they were doing them, and to top it off, he scheduled a grueling seven-game schedule, which would make or break their season. He did that for the purpose of getting them ready for district play and with an eye on the playoffs.

On Saturday at Goddard’s soccer game, all the work and effort was worth it as freshman Alexis Hoover scored her 22nd goal of the year to lead the Lady Rockets to their first playoff victory in two years, with a 1-0 win over Grants. Hoover scored on a breakaway and kicked the ball in front of the Pirate goalie in the right corner of the net with 3:48 left in the first half. That goal would be all they would need to move on.

“I just love the competitive aspect of soccer,” Alexis Hoover said. “I love my team, they just bring the joy to the game to me. I get really nervous before I kick the ball, I try to get my mental look on the game and calm down a lot more. This has been a really cool experience this year. Coach Martinez has pushed me a lot this year. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I would be here. I’m ready for St. Pius X.

Goddard played a total team game — they had open shots and missed most of them, but maybe the wind had a lot to do with it for both teams. Goddard received stellar plays from their goalie Sarah Mathison, as she blocked and thwarted the Pirates at the goal countless times while the game wound down.

“I was nervous today,” Sarah Mathison said. “We didn’t go to state last year, so it’s good to go this year. St. Pius X is a really good team, but so are we and I have a lot of confidence in us.”

Goddard will play St. Pius X at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex, Field 6.