The annual Socorro Cup is officially in the books. A two day marathon of games, the Lady Warriors emerged unscathed to bring its early season record to 4-0 after a close call during the season opener home game against the Onate Lady Knights in which they lead 2-0 going into the half before giving up two goals and escaping with a 3-2 win.
During the tournament the team defeated the Grants Lady Pirates 11-3, the Moriarty Pintos 7-0 and the Silver Fighting Colts 5-0 during the final game of the event.
“We had fewer teams than last year,” Head Coach Michael Olguin said. “But everything went very smooth. The staff at the complex were amazing as always. Without them we could not pull this off. Plus it was great to go up against good competition early in the year. On the field we’re still working on some formation issues which is why this tournament is good. There’s so many games back to back to back but that also helps us to work on things as a group.”
In the final game against Silver the Lady Warriors were rolling on all cylinders early off a strike from junior Consuelo Apache that bounced in off the crossbar. Silver’s defense, in particular freshman goal keeper Makayla Martinez, had a rough time against the swift Socorro attack.
Scoring continued quickly with Apache making a precision pass between defenders to Kaylene Baca as she connected on a strike from distance. Other than a brief scare from a run by Silver midfielder Kennedi Pyper that resulted in a diving save the first half was all Warriors.
Sophomore Lola Apodaca was running up and down the field despite playing her third game in the span of 24 hours. A near goal for Silver bounced off the side bar and Apodaca was off to the races ala Alex Morgan style as she maneuvered her way through the opposing defense for a goal that nobody had a chance of stopping.
“It’s about finding open space,” Apodaca said. “Trying to juggle around the defense as much as I can. Once I get around them it’s all about going straight to the goal. If I can continue to improve my dribbling and shots I can hopefully help the team win this season.”
Silver Head Coach Gregory ‘Doc’ Koury was in good spirits with his girls, particularly after having kept Socorro in check defensively during the second half of the final game against matchup. A strong believer in the Christian faith, Koury consistently encouraged players on his team as well as Socorro’s.
“Everyone out there played very well thanks to the lord above,” he said. “We did better at this tournament last year when we only lost by a goal. But the girls did the best they could against a very good team. These Warriors are going to be a struggle for anyone this season.”
Olguin has a new assistant coach for 2019 in Jesus Sierra-Castillo who was working with the JV team during the tourney.
“The girls have looked good early,” he said. “We need to work on passing the ball better. There is still a lot to improve on but we have plenty of talent and I expect the team to get better every week going forward.”
“I’ve worked with Jesus in the past,” Olguin added about his new coach. “We’ve hosted AYSO events together. He’s been a great addition to our coaching staff for the team in all aspects and works hard to help the girls improve every week.”
As of press time the Lady Warriors had its first road trip headed north to face off against the Los Alamos Hilltopers. They return home for a three game stretch beginning with the 4-0 Clovis Wildcats on August 31.