Home Sports Local Sports Goddard makes playoffs — Los Alamos next

Goddard makes playoffs — Los Alamos next

Goddard’s Abbi Edwards (1) maneuvers through the Portales defense Saturday. (Steve Notz Photo)

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Goddard survived the regular season and finished with a flurry. This wasn’t the season coach Jamie Martinez had envisioned after last season, with so many all-state and district players coming back. After starting the season 4-7, Goddard had to rally, winning five games and tying two games to finish in second place in district (9-8-2 overall, 3-1-2 4A).

Goddard’s Sarah Mattison (20) passes the ball against Portales Saturday. (Steve Notz Photo)

It wasn’t easy for the team that was beset with a rash of injuries that caused veteran coach Martinez to move players around. Some of the players had never played in those positions before and had to learn during practice. The team was so banged up that he could not let them scrimmage in practice for fear of getting someone hurt. The team was learning how to play their positions during games.

It was a lesson in flexibility and versatility on the fly. The move that saved their season and turned it around was moving junior defender Abbi Edwards to the scoring position, and other players to take her place. Edwards came on like a storm and led the team in scoring while getting help from Ailyn Miramontes, Annalicia Salas and the always hustling Ambrosia Teasyatwho. They all contributed to add firepower to the offense.

For the Lady Rockets to succeed in this postseason, they will have to score when they have shots on goal. Goddard cannot commit penalties and give other teams penalty kicks on goals. Penalties have cost them more than one game this season. Teams have scored with less than 30 seconds left to play in games to force overtime and win.

This is the survive and advance stage for the only local team to make the postseason. Martinez has played a tough schedule this season in hopes that they will be able to advance to the next round of the playoffs — and get out of the first round, which they did last season.

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Martinez’s focus since the end of last season’s playoffs has been getting physically stronger in the weight room, so they weren’t muscled by the teams up north.

A game earlier in the season saw them lose to Los Alamos, 3-0, at the Albuquerque Academy Tournament on Sept. 13.

“This time we are a whole different team,” Martinez said. “We can win, and I know we can win. I don’t see it as an upset if we win. It all depends on us getting into the game and getting after it and our girls believing they can win. I believe our girls will be ready to roll.”

Los Alamos will run a 4-4-2 set and switch to a 5-3-2. They will put a girl in the middle of the box. Martinez feels like the Lady Rockets match up well with the Hilltoppers and he expects his team to play well come game time.

“When they beat us earlier this year,” Martinez said, “we had our shots in that game. We just didn’t score when we had the opportunity. We have to score this time. We’re the No. 12 seed and it would not be a surprise if we won it with them being the No. 5 seed.”

Goddard is familiar with Los Alamos, losing to them in 2017, 5-0, and then in the quarterfinals in 2016: 1-0.

“We won’t be intimidated by them,” Martinez said. “If we can score and make our shots when we have them, we’ll be fine. We’re a young team and we’ve had some players step up, which has been good for us. Our girls just have to believe they can win, and we can. I like that our injuries have forced us to play girls at different positions, which is good for us.”

Martinez thanked the fans, families and the Goddard faithful for supporting and sponsoring the Lady Rockets soccer team.

Goddard plays at Los Alamos High School at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.

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