Home Sports Local Sports Goddard looks to avenge playoff loss to familiar foe

Goddard looks to avenge playoff loss to familiar foe

The Goddard girls soccer team stand together after winning the District 4-4A title on March 30 in Artesia. The #4 Lady Rockets will host #5 Los Alamos today at 3 p.m. at Cielo Grande. (Daily Record File Photo)

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There were high expectations coming into the season. Goddard girls’ soccer would have 12 seniors back from a team that won the district last year. The team played shorthanded last year and had several players playing multiple positions.

The key to the season last year was when coach Jamie Martinez moved Abi Edwards to an attacking position and was able to get additional scoring for the injured Alexis Hoover.

With so much firepower back, the team looked to be able to have an undefeated season. Things didn’t start out as planned as the team lost its first three games, to No. 1-ranked Carlsbad, Hobbs, and rival Roswell.

It was during the Hobbs game that Martinez knew his team would be OK. The team was trailing Hobbs 2-1 and scored a goal that was called back. Hobbs scored a cheap goal with seconds to play, but what inspired belief from Martinez was the way the Lady Rockets fought to the end.

In their third loss of the season, Goddard lost to crosstown rival Roswell 1-0. The Lady Rockets were playing their third game in less than seven days. Goddard was on fumes and Martinez knew it.

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Martinez gave the team the weekend off and held a brief meeting. He told the team that in an ordinary year, they would have time to get it together and play their way into form, but not this year. They would have to sprint to the end of the season, and it would have to start with their first district game against Lovington.

Martinez announced that he was making some changes to the defense with the help of assistant coach Nia Martinez and unlike last year, they didn’t have enough players to sub in and out. They set some goals and had to shake off the rust of not playing in 16 months.

With so many scoring threats on the field, Martinez changed up his formations and offense and the team has outscored opponents 32-12 on the season. The key player for the Lady Rockets has been goalie Emily Mathison, who has bounced back from being injured her junior year while allowing only 12 goals on the season.

This year, the team had enough girls to have a rotation and to have backups. With a new season starting, Martinez told the team that all that mattered was what they did in the district. Not the games before, but district games. Only concentrating on the game before them was the tonic they needed, because they went 6-0 and won their sixth district title in eight years.

For the 12 seniors, this is the match they have wanted all season long. A shot at redemption. A chance to play Los Alamos — who ended their season last year, beating them in Los Alamos 3-0.

“It is going to be a tough game,” Martinez said. “We didn’t like the way we played or lost last year. The altitude bothered us, and the girls have had all year to think about it.”

Both teams are familiar with each other, Goddard is seeded No. 4 and Los Alamos is seeded No. 5. This should be a good matchup for equal teams. Goddard feels confident that they are starting to get in soccer shape and playing their best soccer heading into the playoffs.

“We are in a whole better mindset this year,” Martinez said, “We have our players healthy, and our middle is back, our girls are excited and looking to get after it today.”

Goddard will play Los Alamos at 3 p.m. at Cielo Grande today.

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

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