By Dave Wagner
Most of the graduation losses from last year’s Clovis High girls soccer team came in the forward positions.
Fourth-year coach Traci Sievers wants to make sure the defense is in place as the Lady Wildcats prepare for Tuesday’s season opener at first-year program Lovington.
“We’re looking to have a strong defense,” Sievers said. “On defense, I don’t sub a whole lot, so those players have to be fit and know what they’re doing. We still have to build depth there.”
The top returning player on offense could be junior forward Samantha Meza. Sophomore Jaci Sievers, the coach’s daughter, could end up moving from forward to either midfield or defense, Traci Sievers said.
In goal, senior Shelby Jones is back for a second season.
“Last year was her first (playing soccer),” coach Sievers said. “But she’s so athletic, and she got into situations where she learned. I think she’ll go into this year more confident.”
Senior defender Sarena Garcia said things are looking up for the Lady Cats (11-9, 0-4 District 4-5A last year).
“We’re pretty set,” she said. “Our back four is completely set, and we communicate well.”
Midfield returnees include senior Jada Gooden, sophomore Dani Rodriguez and junior Mariah Chavez. Traci Sievers said she could juggle one or more of them back to defense.
Alamogordo joins what had been a three-team district to form the new District 4-6A with CHS, Hobbs and Carlsbad. The Lady Cats haven’t played Alamo on a regular basis over the years, although they did beat the Lady Tigers in a tournament a couple of seasons back.
“I think they were competitive in their district last year, but I don’t think they made it to state,” coach Sievers said. “I like that our district is bigger. It’s always seemed like you play (Hobbs or Carlsbad) and then you have to play them again the next week.”
For now, Clovis is hoping to just win a district game, something it hasn’t done in a couple of years.
“This year, we want to prove we’re (better) than we’ve ever been,” Garcia said. “If we work hard enough, I think we’ll be all right.”
Coach Sievers said the Lady Cats’ postseason chances would be greatly enhanced if they do well in a tournament at Las Cruces at the end of the month and in a trip to Albuquerque to face West Mesa and La Cueva in mid-September.
“Those are big games on our schedule,” she said. “The (Las Cruces) tournament will be a pretty good measure of where we’re at.”