CHS BOYS SOCCER: Cats record 11th victory

Clovis High’s Luis Esparza (12) and Roswell Goddard defender Cheyanne Salazar drive toward the goal during Tuesday’s match. Goddard goalkeeper Pedro Melendez grabs the ball just before Esparza could get to it. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

The Clovis High boys soccer team has now reached one milestone this season — more wins than a year ago.

Now the Wildcats hope to conquer one of the two teams to beat them this year, Roswell High, on Saturday at home.

The Cats improved to 11-2-1 — they were 10-9 a year ago, the first winning record since Shaun Gill became coach in 2002 — with a workmanlike 3-0 victory over Roswell Goddard on Tuesday at Yucca Soccer Complex.

Forgive the Cats if they may have been a bit complacent against the Rockets (1-8), a team they drubbed 5-0 Saturday in Roswell.

“Every time we beat a team and go against them again, we just go play,” said senior midfielder Luis Esparza, who scored the first goal of the night off a corner kick by Angel Fernandez. “Once we get that first goal, we just start to control the ball.”

The Cats hit several shots into the side of the net early, forcing a brief stoppage to fix it with about 28 1/2 minutes gone.

Play resumed with Fernandez taking a corner. Miranda headed the crossing pass down at goalkeeper Pedro Melendez, and the ball bounced over his head and into the goal.

“I had a feeling it was going to come to me,” Esparza said. “I just tried to head it down because if you head it up it will go over the net.”

Senior Scott Elliott and sophomore Alejandro Rascon added second-half tallies, with Elliott assisting on the latter goal. Meantime, the Clovis defense limited the Rockets to one shot on goal in the match.

“At halftime, I told the team that 1-0 was not acceptable,” Gill said. “If we make one mistake (with only that lead), they could tie the game with a cheap goal.

“Once we settled in and started to control the middle of the field, we were all right. The halfbacks controlled the middle, and the defense was able to keep the ball on our offensive side of the field.”

Esparza said the Cats are determined to win a district title this year and make the Class 5A state tournament. Last season, they finished third in their three-team district and were squeezed out of an at-large postseason berth.

“It’s going to be tough, but we’re going to try to win the district title and get to state,” Esparza said. “It’s going to be a tough district. We just have to pick up our heads.”