Lynx hand Warriors a 7-2 loss

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In contrast to a few previous matches they’ve played this season, the Warriors soccer team came out energetic and in sync on Saturday for their contest with Rehoboth.

Jonathan Miller/El Defensor Chieftain: Socorro midfielder John Carilli tries to keep possession as Reboth’s Paul Ratmeyer closes in. Carilli had a goal and an assist in a 7-2 loss to the Lynx.

They had good reason too, as midfielder John Carilli and forwards Mike Armijo and Anthony Saiz were all on the pitch together for the first time this season. And during the match’s opening minutes, it was easy to see the benefit.

Thirteen minutes in, Armijo found Carilli in front of the Lynx goal and Carilli finished the play to give Socorro an early 1-0 lead. That marked the first time Socorro had either scored first or led in a match since Aug. 27.

“You always want to start fast and we’ve had trouble with that,” midfielder Will Schaffer said. “It’s nice to have everybody back. I think they underestimated how quick Mike was by his size, and we took advantage of that really quick.”

Schaffer was playing his first game out of goal in some time, so his size at midfield was also a plus for a regularly undersized Warriors team.

“I was definitely pumped,” he said.

With Schaffer not in goal however, Socorro turned to Ramon Stetson to protect the net. The young defender has the length and height to be an effective goalie, but his inexperience showed a bit when Rehoboth scored its first goal off a free kick from 30 yards out that hit the ground before it skipped past Stetson.

Nineteen minutes into the match the score was tied at 1, and that’s when the older, more experienced Lynx found their stride.

Danny Bremer-Bennet gave Rehoboth the lead with a goal off of a rebound with eight minutes left in the first half, then Caleb Bia stretched the Lynx advantage to 3-1 with a successful penalty kick in injury time.

After a very promising start, Socorro found itself in another hole, and against a good squad.

“Really, we’ve got to score a few more up top to kind of help the defense set back and contain, and allow everything to flow instead of panicking,” Schaffer said. “We’ve learned time and time again we can’t be stabbing (at the ball). Good players will go right around you when you do that.”

In the second half, Bremer-Bennet scored his second goal to help extend the Rehoboth lead to 6-1 with eight minutes remaining in the match. Armijo gave the Warriors a bit of a spark when he danced right past the Lynx defense and took a ball from Carilli to score in injury time and cut the lead to 6-2, but Luke Pikaart added a late goal of his own to cement a 7-2 Rehoboth victory.

The loss drops Socorro to 2-13 on the season, but at this point the Warriors are just working on building towards the future. And even though it has obviously been a rough season for the three departing seniors in Carilli, Schaffer and Kris DeCosta, they’re still competing with the knowledge that head coach Dennis Walsh has long-term plans for the program.

Don’t forget though, they’re also still trying to record a couple of wins before they walk off the pitch at Warrior Stadium for good.

“Losing three seniors for a season of practice is definitely worth it. I want the younger guys to understand that,” Schaffer said. “I want a couple of wins. I want people to know we’re on the up and up. They can be a stronger team next year.

“We have potential. We’ve thrown that word around for the past two or three years, potential. But I think its time to stop saying hey, we have potential, and its time to go take it.”

Socorro has two regular-season matches left to try and knock out those wins. It will travel to Hatch on Oct. 16 and New Mexico Military Institute on Oct. 23, before a final home match with Ruidoso.

Whether they get that elusive win or not, they’ll likely have a good time trying.

“I think everybody is enjoying themselves,” Schaffer said. “I’m just glad to see they’re happy.”