LL girls struggle in loss

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A inspiring halftime talk from head coach James Torres worked initially on his Los Lunas girls soccer team Thursday.

Or at least it worked for the first 2 minutes, 17 seconds of the second half.

Then, Del Norte took control on the way to a 3-1 win over the host Tigers at Volunteer Field.

The Tigers hope to recover from the loss in time to start their District 6-4A campaign on Saturday, hosting rival Belen with kickoff slated for 11 a.m. The Tigers continued their district homestand with Grants at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Down 2-0 at the half, ReAnna Torres took a feed from C.J. Castleberry and planted it firmly in the back of the net to bring Los Lunas within a goal of the Lady Knights just 2:17 into the second half. Torres' words to his team in the huddle were almost prophetic as he instructed the girls to get one goal back, and then it would put the pressure on Del Norte.

The Knights responded by keeping the ball in Del Norte's end for all but 20 seconds of the next 20 minutes.

Los Lunas never got a shot on goal after the inspiring Torres goal early in the half.

Torres was baffled after the game but credited the Del Norte defense.

"We came out and put one in the net right away. We got ourselves back in it he game and then we hurt ourselves on some little things. We got called offside on a lot of scoring opportunities," said Torres of late second-half chances.

Torres was amazed at the play of Jessica Scherrer.

"You have to give the Del Norte defense credit," he said. "They have that awesome sweeper back there, that number four. They have always had really good center-mids on their team, and they know how to control the ball. We got outplayed in the middle."

It looked as if Los Lunas might muster some offense in the last 10 minutes, but Dele Norte shut them down and scored a goal with just 20 seconds left from Mariah Hollingsworth.

"We did a good job of minimizing their shots on goal," said Torres. "We kept them shut out that whole second half, with the exception of the last goal they got in the last 30 seconds. Our defense did a really good job back there."

The first half was more evenly played with Del Norte scoring in the 12th minute and right before halftime in the 37th minute. Los Lunas had four shots on goal in the first half and only two in the second.


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