Wildcats take district lead

Clovis’ Luis Esparza (right) goes up for a header over Carlsbad’s Aaron Guevara during the first half of their game Saturday at Yucca Soccer Complex. Esparza scored the game winning goal in overtime.CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth

By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer

Clovis put itself in a position to win its first district title in six years with a 3-2 overtime win on a rainy Saturday at the Yucca Soccer Complex.

The Wildcats’ second-straight overtime win gives them a half-game lead in District 4-5A over Hobbs. A Wildcat win at Hobbs on Tuesday would give Clovis its first district title since 1999.

“It’s ours to lose now,” Clovis coach Shaun Gill said. “We have one loss (in district), Carlsbad now has two losses, if we go down to Hobbs and win, we’re district champions.”

Clovis dominated Saturday’s game against Carlsbad, but still needed overtime to put away Carlsbad. Clovis outshot Carlsbad 19-7.

“It shouldn’t have (taken overtime),” Gill said. “We outplayed them. We had two bounce off the poles, we missed wide open goals. We were just unlucky.”

Clovis (8-8 overall, 2-1 in district) struck first when Luis Miranda headed an Angel Fernandez cross into the back of the net in the sixth minute.

Carlsbad (2-13, 1-2) tied the game on a penalty kick by Aaron Guevara and took the lead when Steven Hicks slipped past the Wildcat defense and scored.

With under a minute to play in the first half, Jayme Nauman tied the game with an unlikely goal. The junior took a shot from midfield that bounced through the keeper’s legs and past the goal line.

“This was our third or fourth overtime game this season,” Gill said. “It’s no big deal for them. They have the ability to step it up when it counts.”

On Clovis’ first shot of the overtime, Luis Esparza headed in a Devin Aragon pass to win the game for the Wildcats.

“We had our chances, but we missed,” Esparza said. “When I got that cross, I was hoping it went in, and it did.”

Carlsbad coach Fred Ongaga said Clovis had improved since the last time the teams had played — a 4-1 Carlsbad win.

“They showed that they have been working a lot,” Ongaga said. “Their passes were good and I think we had a mental breakdown. We made errors and they capitalized on that.”

Clovis has played Hobbs twice this season. Hobbs won the first meeting 4-2 on Aug. 20 at the Clovis Invitational. Clovis beat Hobbs 2-1 in overtime Oct. 8 in the team’s first district match.

“It’s going to be tough,” Gill said. “We’re going to Hobbs, and they’re always tough at home. They’ll run you to death, They are in your face, they won’t give up, it’s gonna be a battle. We’re gonna see who wants it the most.”

District 4-5A
Clovis 3, Carlsbad 2, OT
Carlsbad 2 0 0 — 2
Clovis 2 0 1 — 3
Scoring summary
First half
Clo — Luis Miranda (Angel Fernandez), 5:38
Car — Aaron Guevara, 6:46
Car — Steven Hicks, 30:41
Clo — Jayme Nauman, 39:46
Second half
No scoring
Clo — Luis Esparza (Devin Aragon), 3:34
Team statistics
Shots —
Carlsbad 7, Clovis 19. Saves — Carlsbad 10, Clovis 2. Corner kicks — Carlsbad 1, Clovis 3. Records — Carlsbad 2-13 (1-2), Clovis 8-8 (2-1).