Clovis High School girls soccer head coach Larry Jones demonstrates how to trap a ball on your chest to freshman Cassie Belford Wednesday during practice a Yucca Soccer Complex. Photo by Eric Kluth
By Dave Wagner
Their numbers are down significantly and they have plenty of holes to fill.
Still, the Clovis High Lady Wildcats are hopeful things will come together under new coach Larry Jones.
The Lady Cats went 6-12-1 last season, including 1-7 in District 4-5A, under Tamara Spradlin, the team’s coach for the past five seasons. The squad currently numbers only around 22, but Jones noted that it’s been growing by one or two each of the past few days.
“Depth is definitely going to be a problem, especially early in the season, unless we pick up a few more girls,” Jones said.
Clovis opens its season at Yucca Soccer Complex on Aug. 23 against Roswell Goddard, then hosts its annual invitational tournament the following weekend.
The Lady Wildcats feature several freshman who saw extensive action on last year’s team, led by forward-midfielders Kela Williams and Calie Rush. Others include Britni Jimenez, Jordan Garrett and Abby Garrett (no relation).
Seniors Jessica Doss at goalkeeper and Jessica Roark at forward-midfielder will be counted on to provide experience, Jones said.
“We have a bunch of new people,” Roark said. “But I think we’re all connecting good and getting along well. There’s a lot of potential out here.”
Jones hopes the Lady Cats’ speed can help make up for their shortage in manpower.
“We’ve got quite a bit of speed,” he said. “With the eighth-graders who got to play quite a bit last year, we have some experience, even though we’re still going to be fairly young.”
Roark said two-a-days and trying to get into game shape is a challenging task, but she thinks the team is headed in the right direction.
Albuquerque Eldorado has traditionally been the team to beat in the district, but Roark said the Lady Eagles were hurt by graduation and may be a little more beatable than in the past.
“We don’t have a whole lot of depth,” she said, “but I think as long as we stick together and play well, we’ll do good.”