As time slowly ticked away, Goddard coach Jamie Martinez took his starters out one by one. Martinez never moved, he just high-fived his players as they came and sat on the bench. Most of the girls had tears in their eyes as their playoff journey was coming to an end, not to mention a loss to another team from up north.
Goddard did all they could, but in the first 20 seconds of the game, St. Pius X let them know they were not in Roswell anymore, but playing for the Blue Trophy. A Sartans’ player scored a goal to set the tone for the rest of the game.
The Sartans would add another two goals in the first half and take a commanding 3-0 lead at the half. In the second half St. Pius X added another two goals to defeat the upstart Lady Rockets 5-0 Wednesday at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex.
“I told our team,” Martinez said, “don’t be ashamed. You guys come up here and you worked, and you got physically outplayed. There were some things that we didn’t capitalize on. We had a couple of chances, and against a good team, that’s all you get sometimes is a couple of opportunities. We should have, but we were shell-shocked. We’re a young team — six months ago, you were playing middle school. You’re 14 years old and you’re playing against women. In the offseason, if you want this, you have to come work and it has to be something you want to do, not because I’m making you do it. You have to want to do it.”
It was apparent that if Goddard wants to go from being a feel-good story to a team that can seriously challenge for the Blue Trophy, they will have to get stronger physically and stay in the weight room. Another factor is that Martinez alluded to this being a young team and some of them are only 14. This time last year, they were playing middle school soccer — and against the Sartans, they were physically dominated and playing against a stronger opponent.
Martinez gave a shout-out to his seniors and their accomplishment and what they have meant to the program.
• Melannie Soto: “She played three years,” Martinez said. “She did really well and helped out. She didn’t get a lot of playing time because of experience, but she was valuable.
• Madison Miranda: “She has been playing since she was a sophomore,” Martinez said. “She has gotten better, she played two and three positions throughout the years. She did really well and hung in there and she did really good. She played wherever and allowed me to have depth.”
• Destiny Lawrence: “She shut some people down this year for us,” Martinez said. “She played fullback (defense) for us. She’s a workhorse, she’s been playing since she was a sophomore.
• Val “Pinky” Hernandez: “She was playing defense in the beginning,” Martinez said, “and I ended up moving her through the years. She hurt her knee at the beginning of the year, but she stuck with it this year and I rotated girls with her.”
As for next season, Martinez plans to see what he has coming up from the middle school and then plans to fill in and use a rotation to bring them along with his regular players.
“If you look at my defense back there,” Martinez said, “I have sophomore, sophomore, sophomore, a junior and the girls coming in the middle. I have a sophomore, sophomore and a freshman on the outside and a freshman to rotate. If you look at my team, we’re going to be young next year. We just have to get up here and play. I have to talk to Britt (Cooper) about scheduling some games up here.”
Martinez realizes that if he wants to contend for a Blue Trophy in the future, he has to play a top caliber schedule against the likes of St. Pius X, Albuquerque Academy, Del Norte, Los Lunas and Los Alamos, to name a few.
He also believes that he has to continue to play up in competition like he did in his seven-game stretch this season. Martinez believes that made all the difference in making the playoffs and being ready for district. Martinez’s goal is not to get to state and be one and done — or to lose to a team 1-0 — but to be in a position to play for a championship one day.
“No one expected us to be here,” Martinez said. “We were 4-14-1 last year, and these same girls took a lumping, but look where they are now; they came back. They got better after that last season. You can tell in this game that they were physically stronger than us. Overall, I’m pretty proud of my girls. We’re going to be OK.”