CHS BOYS SOCCER: Cats fall in district opener

Clovis senior Jayme Nauman (9) battles Hobbs junior Chad Ply for control of the ball during the first half of Saturday’s District 4-5A boys soccer match at Yucca soccer Complex. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

The Clovis High boys soccer team didn’t get off to the kind of start it hoped for in District 4-5A on Saturday.

Still, considering the first two matches in district play have gone to visiting teams, Wildcats coach Shaun Gill believes things are far from hopeless.

The Cats dropped a 2-0 decision to Hobbs at Yucca Soccer Complex. The win lifted the Eagles (14-4) back to .500 in the three-team district after they were beaten at home by Carlsbad earlier in the week.

“I felt we outplayed them pretty much the whole game,” Gill said. “They were able to capitalize on two mistakes.”

Clovis (11-3-1, 0-1 district) missed good scoring chances in each half, but the Eagles pretty much ended any suspense when Diego Orona scored on a through pass from Jacob Ray, beating CHS goalkeeper Josh Bussen to the right corner in the 64th minute for a two-goal margin.

Ray also assisted on Hobbs’ first goal, by Cory Kramer with just over 12 minutes left in the opening half.

Eagles coach Heath Weeks was aware that another loss — with only four district games for each team — would have left his team in a bind.

“I really thought this was a make-or-break game,” said Weeks, whose team handed the Cats a 4-2 loss in the finals of the season-opening Clovis Invitational. “An 0-2 start would’ve been hard to come back from, but this puts us right back in contention.”

Weeks said his team did a good job of competing in the match.

“Our strength on defense was our two center-backs, Skyler Hays and Matt Bryant,” Weeks said. “They were winning the 50-50 balls and the balls out of the air. I thought the thing that really stood out was how many balls we were able to win out of the air.”

Gill said he thought his players may have been a little tight coming in.

“A lot of it was nerves,” he said. “The boys really wanted to win this game. I could see they were tense.”

Now the Cats have a quick turnaround on Tuesday, also at home, against Carlsbad — a team they beat earlier in the season in a tournament.

“I told the team that our goal is still attainable,” Gill said of the district race. “We’ve dug ourselves a little hole, but if we win Tuesday we’ll be right where we want to be.”