CNJ Photo: Eric Kluth
Clovis sophomore Kelli Helm, left, and Moriarty sophomore Aileen Nimick collide after going for a ball during the second half of their game during the Clovis Girls Soccer Invitational Friday at Yucca Soccer Complex.
Clovis’ Lady Cats opened their soccer season slowly, but learned from their mistakes and finished Friday with a split.
In the first game, the Lady Cats fell behind early and never recovered, losing to Moriarty 3-0.
The Pintos dominated the first half of play, limiting the Lady Cats to only one shot while scoring twice on 12 shots of their own.
Senior forward Alisha Washington starred for Moriarty, netting a goal in each half. Sophomore Aileen Nimick was the other goal scorer, her free kick found the back of the net in the first half.
Clovis coach Larry Jones knew the Lady Cats had their hands full going into the game.
“We were hoping for better, but it was about what I expected,” Jones said. “It was our first game, the girls had some pregame jitters. It was promising, but there are still a lot of things we need to work on.”
Of the work needed to be done, Jones said top priority is winning loose balls.
“If we can win 50-50 balls, basically, we’ll win a lot of games,” Jones said. “Today they won the 50-50 balls and the score shows it.”
The Lady Cats made amends in the second game defeating Artesia 4-1.
Jones said his team matured in game two.
“I think after we got that first game under our belt we settled down,” Jones said. “We did some of the things we needed to do.”
Up 2-1 at the break, Jones said the Lady Cats reverted to the form they showed in the first game.
“In the second half we started going back to our old ways,” Jones said. “We weren’t settling the ball, we were just kicking it — kicking it to no one in particular.”
Clovis eventually settled back in and sealed the win with two late goals.
Artesia coach Christy Long said the Lady Cats snuck up and pounced on the Bulldogs.
“We watched them earlier and somewhat underestimated them and we got beat,” Long said. “There is really nothing else I can say. We got beat and we got beat bad. There is no excuse for coming out here and losing like this.”
The Clovis goal scorers were Jordan Garrett, Cali Rush, Audry Rodela, and Melissa James. Victoria Padovano was the lone Bulldog scorer.
Friday marked the first games back for Rush after missing all of last season with a knee injury.
“It’s hurting right now,” Rush said about her right knee. “It’s a little sore. I took some kicks to it, but other than that it’s pretty good.”
The junior said she played tentatively because of the injury.
“I’m still kinda scared about it,” Rush said. “I’m babying it. I think after I get a couple more games in I’ll be good to go.”