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Clovis girls nab No. 11 seed in 5A soccer


October 30, 2019

CLOVIS — After a regular season of injuries, double-overtime losses and double-overtime ties, the Clovis girls soccer team overcame enough and won enough to earn a reward.

Over the weekend, the Lady Wildcats received a state 5A playoff berth which has them as the No. 11 seed. They will battle sixth-seeded Centennial in a first-round matchup beginning 5 p.m. Friday at Las Cruces’ Field of Dreams.

It’s a tough draw for the Lady ’Cats (10-5-4), who will face a rarely-beaten (17-1-2) Centennial team. But Clovis is there, in the state tournament, with a chance to go on a run, a chance to win a state title.

It always starts with a chance.

“We’re really excited,” Clovis head coach Traci Sievers said. “We were hoping it was a possibility. I think finishing second in our district and with our district being as tight as it was, we were hoping it was going to be a good possibility. But sometimes you never know, right?”

Clovis’ District 4-5A record was 2-1-3, behind only Carlsbad (4-0-2), and a notch in front of Hobbs (2-2-2). The Lady Wildcats are playing a Centennial team that went 12-0 in District 3-5A, finishing two games up on Mayfield.

The Lady Hawks have four double-digit scorers, led by senior forward Aubrey Swindle’s 23 goals.

Centennial’s other players notching double-digit numbers are: senior forward Sarah Rodriguez (12) junior forward/midfielder Jennifer Enriquez (12) and sophomore forward Jada Gladem (11). Centennial also has two players — senior midfielder/defender Kayla Reynaud and sophomore midfielder/forward Jaydan Duran — who have scored nine goals each.

It’s a multi-faceted offense that has averaged 5.4 goals per game in the regular season, which Centennial ended with consecutive 10-0 road wins over Deming and Gadsden. But Clovis is undaunted, based on some common opponents.

“They did play Hobbs and Carlsbad pretty close,” Sievers said. “I think Carlsbad tied them and Hobbs lost by one in double overtime. And we’re kind of familiar with overtimes with those two teams.”

Right on all of the above. Centennial beat Hobbs 2-1 in double overtime on Sept. 5, two days before tying Carlsbad 1-1. Clovis tied Carlsbad 2-2 in double overtime on Oct. 10, and fell to the Cavegirls 1-0 in double OT five days later. Against Hobbs the Lady Wildcats finished in a 1-1 double overtime tie on Oct. 5, then two weeks later edged the Lady Eagles 1-0 in overtime.

On Monday the Lady ’Cats did some studying on their opponent and were encouraged.

“We watched some film and I think they were excited,” Sievers said of her players. “The film we were watching was from when they played Hobbs, and we’re pretty familiar with Hobbs. We know how they play. We got to see the field we’re going to be playing on too, so it was good.”

And Clovis will enter the game with a healthy team, something that hasn’t often been the case this season.

“We’ve got everybody back expect for one,” Sievers said, “and the one that wasn’t (back) was released for no contact. So I don’t know; we might have everybody back by Friday.”

Sievers said she wasn’t allowed to reveal that one player’s name or the specifics of her injury, but among the players who were injured earlier this season and have since returned are scoring threats Madison Lynch and Nevaeh Coronado. Lynch, a junior striker, has still managed 14 goals this season, second-best on the team. Coronado, a sophomore striker who returned more recently, has contributed six goals, good enough for fourth on the team.

Senior defender Madeline Howalt is third with eight goals. Leading the pack by far is senior midfielder Sofia Rico with 24, including six different hat tricks and seven multiple-goal games. Rico has also doled out 10 assists, including a pair of three-assist games — against Lovington (Aug. 27) and Portales (Sept. 17).

With players like that available, it would seem Clovis has at least a puncher’s chance against mighty Centennial. “Yeah, we’d like to hope so,” Sievers said.

Though taking such a lengthy road trip to face the Lady Hawks isn’t ideal.

“Not too excited about the ride,” Sievers said, “but it’s better than staying home.”


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