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Bulldog soccer splits with St. Pius, Los Lunas

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The Bulldog soccer team closed out its 2023 regular season with a pair of solid games, coming up just short of Class 4A top-ranked St. Pius, 3-0, and defeating Class 5A Los Lunas, 3-1.

Saturday in Albuquerque, the ‘Dogs knew the size of the task in front of them versus the perennially strong Sartans but hung with Pius in both halves. The Sartans scored their first two goals in the opening 40 minutes and added the third in the second half.

“You can’t complain when you’re competing,” head coach Phillip Jowers said Tuesday. “And 3-0 against St. Pius is competing.”

The ‘Dogs were without the services of starter Zane Baize, who was away at a cross country meet, but put forth a strong effort — including 10 saves by keeper Sebastian Gonzalez — that should give them confidence in their ability to compete with St. Pius, should they meet again down the road.

Monday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex, Artesia didn’t quite have the dominant performance they were hoping for against Los Lunas, but, as Jowers said, “It wasn’t for lack of trying.”

“We had 17 shots on goal and nine corner kicks in that game,” said the coach. “We didn’t convert any of those corner kicks, so that’s got to change. But sometimes it just doesn’t drop. I was never concerned we weren’t going to win.”

The Tigers managed to log the contest’s first goal, courtesy of Isaac Jiron, but Artesia tied it up almost immediately en route to a 1-1 halftime tally and eventual two-goal win. Moises Corza finished with a pair of goals on the evening and Cutter Summers with one. Baize, Diego Zamarron and Damian Lopez logged assists.

The boys in orange will now prepare to kick off the first round of District 4-AAAA play at 6 p.m. Thursday against Goddard at The Mack. They’ll take a quick break from district to travel to Belen at 2 p.m. Saturday before resuming D4 play at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, against Lovington in Lovington.

“Our district is one of the strongest if not the strongest in the state,” said Jowers. “Everybody’s a hard team, so we’re just going to keep preparing like everybody’s the best team in the world.

“I want to encourage people to come out Thursday when we play Goddard. The more people that come out, the better the boys play. It just makes for a really good atmosphere. Why do you think we’re so good in football? There are a number of reasons, but one of them is that it’s intimidating for teams to come play in the Bowl because the Bowl’s the Bowl. I would love it if the Mack Chase complex and Robert Chase Field got to that level where opposing teams fear playing there.”

Brienne Green
Daily Press Editor

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