Lady Eagles still sorting out issues on defense

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Some defensive changes caused problems for the Belen girls soccer team hosting Del Norte on Saturday.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Crystal Smith of Belen, left, battles Del Norte’s Jessica Scherrer for the ball in Saturday’s match. Belen travels to Los Lunas for Saturday’s 11 a.m. District 6-4A opener.

The Eagles (2-5 after Saturday) got the adjustments made in the second half, but not before the Knights (3-4) posted two first-half goals and later survive Belen’s comeback attempt, 2-1.

Belen has a busy week.

The Lady Eagles were scheduled to visit Rio Grande for a match after News-Bulletin press time Tuesday. They’re set to play at Socorro at 4 p.m. Wednesday, before traveling to Los Lunas in their first District 6-4A match at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Injuries are also impacting the Belen lineup. Senior midfielder Kaitlyn D’Archangeli has been absent from the lineup since the first match of the season. Coincidently, the Eagles have a 1-5 record since D’Archangeli has been on the sidelines.

Another injury caused the lineup adjustment that led to Del Norte posting two goals in the first half on Saturday, according to coach Wilfred Carrasco.

“We came out somewhat disorganized due to a quad injury to Jadyn Casillas, who was unable to play,” said the Belen coach.

“Fundamental mistakes were made defensively, and Del Norte capitalized on those errors by getting balls behind our defense.”

Carrasco noted that goaltender Maria Sabinas played well, despite the continual pressure in the first half.

“Even though (Maria) is a defensive force,” said Carrasco, “She was unable to stop Del Norte’s attackers twice.”

Sabinas had three saves during the contest, two in the first half.

Carrasco was happier with the play after halftime.

“Our team settled down and began our style of play and dominated the second half,” said Carrasco. “We looked entirely different by pushing the tempo and keeping the Knights in their defensive half for the second period of the match.”

Belen had a couple of scoring chances, but Del Norte goaltender Erica Cruz saved two shots from Alexis Begay.

The Eagle forward finally came through after a move to get the talented sophomore a better look at the goal.

“It was seconds after moving her to center attacker that she received a beautiful through ball to take on Del Norte’s keeper and sent a shot to the back of the net on the right post for our only goal,” said Carrasco.

Del Norte was able to hold on, despite several late pushes by the Eagles in the final 10 minutes.


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.