Senior Scott Elliott of Clovis move around NMMI’s James Hanks and Jackie Lamendola on Tuesday en route to a score in the first half. Elliott scored four goals in Clovis’ 5-0 win at the Yucca Soccer Complex. (Staff photo: Tony Bullocks)
By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
Prior to the contest, Clovis senior Scott Elliott gave his teammates a pregame pep talk. The topic of conversation? The opponent, NMMI, who the Wildcats had already beaten twice this season — and not taking the Colts lightly.
Elliott, in case somebody on the squad wasn’t paying attention, then showed exactly what he meant by drilling four goals in a 5-0 victory on Tuesday.
“I think he scored three once in a JV game, but never four before,” Clovis coach Shaun Gill said.
His first goal came only moments after the pregame address as Elliott hammered home a rebound on a shot by Luis Esparza.
“We had already beaten them twice, so the worst thing we could do was to go in thinking, ‘Hey, they’re easy,’” Elliott said. “Before the game, we just talked about taking this team like they were the best team in the state.”
“He had some good input before the game, said not to underrate them — not to look past them and to play hard,” Gill said. “That’s what I was going to tell (the Clovis players). He read my mind.”
Elliott’s second goal also involved Esparza, who dribbled past a Colts’ defender and found Elliott on the left side. Elliott’s leftfooted shot found the upper right corner of the goal, giving Clovis (5-1-1) a two-goal lead 10 minutes in.
Before the first half was over, Elliott found net again. This time, with 8:32 left before intermission, the CHS senior poked a shot between the legs of NMMI keeper Justin Fishback for a 3-0 advantage.
Elliott then started the second half as he did the first — by scoring with less than two minutes gone by. This time, his fourth goal came by juking a Colts’ player and booting the ball into the left side of the goal past a diving Fishback.
Clovis capped the scoring three minutes later when Angel Fernandez scored in the 44th minute.
After the game, Elliott reflected how he felt he had been in a slump during the early part of the Clovis High season — a slump that, in his mind, ended only recently.
“This game actually. I had a couple (of goals) the weekend before, but today the coach said, ‘Hey, I guess your slump is over,’” Elliott said. “I guess so.”
“He had hit the bar about three times this season. He was on target basically, but I think this is a real confidence-booster for him,” Gill said.
Next up for Clovis? Odd, but true: NMMI (2-4-1). When the teams play in the opening round of the Roswell tournament on Friday, which Gill believes will be the case, it’ll be the fourth time in eight games so far that the Wildcats have played the Colts.
“It’s just the luck of the draw,” Gill said.