Rams, Wildcats play to scoreless tie

By Dave Wagner
Sports writer
dwagner@cnjonline.com

CLOVIS — Portales and Clovis battled deep into the evening, both unsuccessful in their bids to break the scoring ice.

At the end of Tuesday’s nil-nil, double-overtime draw at Leon Williams Stadium, coaches had decidedly different reactions.

“We played a lot of defense today,” Rams coach Nathan Dodge said. “Our defense played great today.

“Everybody wants to win, but a tie is good for us.”

Not so much for the Wildcats, coach Greg Trujillo said.

“I’m upset; I’m frustrated,” he said. “I was pleased with our possession of the ball, but we didn’t get many shots. Any time we did get shots, there was no power behind them.”

The New Mexico Activities Association, as well as prep organizations in a number of other states, opted to call a match a tie if neither team scored in the two 10-minute overtime periods. In the past, penalty kicks would have determined a winner at that point.

The first half was relatively even, but most of the rest of the night was spent in Portales’ end. The Rams, playing their season opener, managed only two shots on goal compared with 10 for the Cats (2-0-1), including seven in the second half.

“We had a couple of (scoring) opportunities off corners,” Trujillo said. “We needed to crash quite a bit.”

He said he adjusted his attack as the match went on.

“I went with midfielders to play defense,” he said. “That opened up the game, but at the same time it cost us a little depth in the midfield.”

Clovis’ best chance to score came with just under 10 minutes left when senior Kousei Richeson took a pass into the middle and flicked a shot from about 10 feet out, with senior goalkeeper Lane Nichols making the save for the Rams.
Dodge was happy with his team’s overall play. Portales faces Hobbs at 5 p.m. on Thursday in its home opener.

“I think we just need to work on our midfield, moving up and down the field as the play goes,” he said. “They (Cats) pressure really hard, and there’s times where there are gaps between the offense and defense.

“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

Other than not getting the win, Trujillo was encouraged with his team’s overall play.

“I was pleased with the way we moved the ball,” he said. “They’re buying into the concept I want where we attack from the defense and push the numbers upfield.”

Clovis returns to action today with a 5 p.m. start at Las Vegas Robertson in a match moved up from Sept. 25, then travels to Los Alamos for a weekend tournament.