Lady Cats rally to win

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Clovis High junior Jasiman Dykes moves the ball around a Roswell High player during Monday’s girls soccer match-up at Yucca Complex.

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Down by three goals, the Clovis High girls soccer team went on an offensive explosion Monday night.

The Lady Wildcats scored four goals in a span of just over 11 minutes in the second half to take the lead, then won the battle of penalty kicks 3-2 after Roswell High tied the score for a 6-5 win at Yucca Complex.

Junior Taylor Corley scored on CHS’ eighth penalty kick, then goalkeeper Celsey Eldridge stopped Roswell High’s final attempt by Laura Cruz to seal Clovis’ second win in three tries this season against the Lady Coyotes.

The Lady Cats (5-9) had scored 14 goals this season prior to Monday, never more than three in any match.

“We’ve had the potential all year to score that many goals,” Lady Cats coach Shane Leatherwood said. “And we put two or three (other shots) off the post.

“We controlled the ball and dominated possession tonight.”

Senior Keli Helm had two of Clovis’ regulation goals, while Stephenie Aguilar, Lora Esquivel and Caitlyn Barnett had one apiece. Barnett, a junior, capped the four-goal rush by sliding to chip the ball past Lady Coyotes keeper Brittany Thompson at the 61:50 mark.

Roswell’s Natalie Mendoza chipped a shot past Eldridge from in front in the 72nd minute, and the teams went on to play through two scoreless overtimes.

The Lady Cats’ situation appeared bleak when Roswell (4-9) opened a 4-1 lead with two goals in a span of just over a minute early in the second half.

“It did,” Leatherwood admitted. “But I knew we could come back because we’d had so many shot opportunities.

“The girls showed a lot of character tonight, and that was nice to see.”

Clovis had a 15-6 advantage in shots on goal, with Thompson making eight saves.

“It was a competitive match,” Lady Coyotes coach Fabian Rivera said. “I hate to see it come down to penalties (PKs) because it all comes down to the goalie.

Roswell High, which backed out of the original Saturday match with several players involved in a band trip, still was minus several players for various reasons on Monday, Rivera said.

“We had some players who played both JV and varsity, so we were a little tired,” he said.

The Lady Cats won the junior varsity preliminary 4-0, getting goals from Audrey Rodela, Kelsey Foster, Arin Martin and Kayla Merritt.