RUIDOSO – Each high school soccer match in New Mexico is set at 80 minutes, give or take.
On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the Ruidoso Lady Warriors needed about 79 minutes to earn a 2-1 District 4-4A/1A victory over Portales at Ruidoso Middle School.
Having already tied it at 1-all with a goal midway through the first half, Jessi Midkiff got loose on a breakaway in the final two minutes to put her team ahead for good.
“My left foot,” exclaimed Midkiff after her off-foot shot won the game. “I feel like I can use the left foot without even thinking about it now.”
Portales (5-12, 0-3 district) scored first with 19 minutes left in the first half when a ball bounced off Lady Warrior goal keeper Sara McMasters and into the net.
Four minutes later, Midkiff was able to tie it and it stayed that way.
It stayed that way as both teams had numerous chances to score, chances that came up short because of an errant shot, offsides call or some other factor out of the teams’ control.
“I told all the girls not to give up, and that’s exactly what happened today,” said Ruidoso coach Manuel Medrano. “That’s the way soccer is, you have your chances, and sometimes you can’t make them. But today, it was a different story.”
With Midkiff’s left-footed go-ahead goal, the Lady Warriors (5-9-1, 1-2) not only got their first district win, they got some momentum heading into the second half of district play.
“It was a good game, we won, and I’m happy,” Medrano said. “We’re working really hard, and the girls are hungry to go against Moriarty and beat them and do this again in Portales.”
Before Ruidoso is at Moriarty on Oct. 8, they’ll host Hatch on Thursday in a rematch of the teams’ 1-all tie last week.
“We played very calm, we weren’t stressed,” Midkiff said. “Against Moriarty and Hatch, we just need to play like we did today.”