Lady Warriors stymie the Bobcats

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Socorro forward Dez Armijo might be a weapon on offense, but she is by no means a secret weapon at this point.

Now officially one of the better female scorers nationally to ever play high school soccer, teams have shown a willful desire to take her out of matches by double and triple teaming her, at least in post season competition.

Bloomfield executed that same game plan against the Lady Warriors during their opening-round state tournament match on Saturday afternoon. Technically, it worked as Armijo was swarmed by the Bobcats’ physical defense and couldn’t find the back of the net. What didn’t work for Bloomfield was stopping any of the other scoring threats Socorro has produced this season.

Jeriana Contreras and Dominique Molina both scored two goals, and Amanda Saenz added a goal and an assist to help power Socorro to a 5-0 victory over the visiting Bobcats.

“We worked on it. We expected it. We knew it was coming,” Socorro head coach Mitch Carrejo said of Bloomfield’s “no-Dez” strategy.

“Most teams try to do it, they just didn’t have the athletes. The further we go, the more athletic teams are going to be, the more they’re going to try to take her out. I think we proved today we’re not just a one-man team.”

Eight minutes into the contest Contreras got Socorro on the board when she leaked a 20-yard shot by Bobcats goalkeeper Brandy Cooper. She struck again eight minutes after that from around the same spot off of a strong ricochet to give the Lady Warriors a 2-0 advantage.

With 11 minutes left in the first half Dominique Molina recorded her first goal of the 2012 state tournament off of a beautiful through ball by Saenz, then she struck again seven minutes later when she powered a ball past the Bloomfield defense in the middle of a fracas to give the home team a 4-0 first half lead.

Saenz added an unassisted goal from 5 yards out 23 minutes into the second half to finish off the afternoon’s scoring.

The Socorro defense notched its 12th shutout of the season, and every one of the five goals the Lady Warriors scored was earned through grit and determination. Nothing comes easy in the postseason, and the Bobcats’ aggressive style of play left a Socorro player hitting the turf hard on far more than one occasion.

Bloomfield was handed two yellow cards on the day.

“They were physical. That’s state,” Carrejo said. “That’s what I told the girls. Head home, ice up if you need to. Get ready for it. It’s only going to get more physical and tougher as it goes on. I mean, that’s what the state tournament is all about.”

And for Socorro, it proved the tourney will also be about more than Armijo’s golden leg. The team proved both to itself and to the competition that even though it boasts the state’s best Class 3A player, if not the best player in the state overall, it’s not a one-trick pony. These Lady Warriors can score from just about anywhere, at any time.

“We’ve got other girls this year,” Carrejo said. “This year the girls are a little more focused. They’re looking forward to it again.”

And what Socorro is looking forward to tomorrow is a rematch with the 18-2 Robertson Cardinals. The Lady Warriors handed the Las Vegas-based school a 5-3 loss in September, one of only two losses for the Cardinals on the season. There’s no special game plan, though. Carrejo said his squad will just keep on doing what it’s good at.

“We’ve been doing OK with what we’re doing,” he said. “We just need to work our defense a little harder. We just need to eliminate mistakes. Just clean up our passing.”

Tomorrow’s Class 1A-3A quarterfinal match will take place on Field 4 at the Albuquerque Public Schools Soccer Complex located at Ventana Ranch. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.