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Nayelle Sierra looks to finish strong

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Roswell senior soccer player Nayelle Sierra. (Submitted Photo)

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The smile comes easy in the 4:1 pods, as she goes through drills — for Roswell senior Nayelle Sierra, she wants to finish strong. Every drill is one that might be the last of her career. Not a game, but her career might end in a 4:1 pod. Nayelle needs to have the workouts, but most of all, she needs to be with the teammates she has grown up with.

Sports are supposed to be starting in the next two weeks. All that awaits is Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to give the OK. Nayelle, like all seniors playing sports this year, wants to have a senior year and to experience Senior Day, no matter how many games are played.

For Nayelle, unfinished business is finishing her athletic career on the pitch, attempting victory with her teammates and fellow seniors. She played junior varsity her junior year before being moved up to varsity for the Albuquerque Academy game.

Nayelle’s biggest asset is her speed. She plays outside midfielder and is in great shape. She said her main goal is to stop opponents from scoring on defense, while she tries to score on offense.

“Being a senior is really different,” Nayelle said. “It means taking a lot of leadership and having my teammates back.”

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Nayelle hopes the team can replicate the fast start they had last year. She said it would mean a lot for her and her fellow seniors to make it to the playoffs this year.

“It would be really good to make it to playoffs,” Nayelle said. “Especially, how this year has been going — if we can make it, it would actually make the year pretty good.”

Nayelle said that as an athlete, it is hard not to come out and play soccer. Doing drills and not being able to use a ball is different. That’s a new normal. The most rewarding part for Nayelle has been getting to see her teammates at practice. She said she hopes that things will get back to normal soon. Nayelle said that being able to kick the ball would mean a lot. All Roswell can do until next week is conditioning and build a bond of togetherness, which she said she hopes will carry over for the season.

Nayelle said that being together with her teammates is motivating, which beats not being able to see them at all. For Nayelle, she said her favorite moment of her junior year was against Clovis last season. The game ended in a 0-0 tie, and she said she felt like she made a contribution to the team by playing good defense and preserving a tie, to knock Clovis out of the playoffs.

“The game was crazy,” Nayelle said. “It was emotional. The overtime was so tight.”

Nayelle said some of her toughest losses last season were the ones against Aztec and against Hobbs. Nayelle said Aztec was a bigger and faster team than the Lady Coyotes. She said what impressed her was that they never gave up and fought until the end. Nayelle said playing against Hobbs is very exciting for her. She said Hobbs is a good team and they play well, which makes her have to play her best in order to try to win.

Nayelle said she plans to go to college next year. Within the next couple of weeks, Nayelle has the opportunity to play her senior year, but if for some reason her senior year were to be canceled, she said she would be devastated.

“We have nine seniors,” Nayelle said. “We are a pretty close group of seniors. We have grown up together and been through so much. I miss all of the senior things we get to do. I hope we get back to school and have a season.”

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