By Dave Wagner
PORTALES — It didn’t take long — just two matches — for the first-year Eastern New Mexico University men’s soccer program to break into the win column.
Of course, ENMU coaches Carlos Elizondo and Travis McCorkle thought it could’ve been even sooner.
The Greyhounds scored just 61 seconds into their history on Friday at Texas Wesleyan, but eventually had to settle for a 1-1 tie with the Rams after two overtimes.
They left no doubt on Saturday, though, scoring the first three goals in a 3-1 win at Dallas Baptist.
“One of the reasons I thought we tied that game on Friday was a lack of leadership and a lack of discipline,” said McCorkle, who is the head coach over both programs but leaves most of the men’s on-field duties to Elizondo, his assistant. “I thought (the Hounds) played very well, but they played the last 20 minutes the same way they played the first 20 minutes.”
In other words, the Hounds were a little too free and easy down the stretch, allowing Wesleyan to get the tying goal with less than five minutes left.
“We have a lot of creative players, but with that comes a little bit of a lack of discipline,” Elizondo said. “We struggled to keep that lead in the second half.”
Elizondo said sophomore forward Johnathan Holman and freshman defender Garrett York, both graduates of Rio Rancho High, played well on Saturday.
“The team played more as a unit on Saturday, and the results definitely showed,” York said.
The team had a meeting before Saturday’s match, and the coaches said some of the mistakes from Friday were eliminated.
“We talked about some of the leadership and the discipline of the team,” Elizondo said, “and we played much better.”
The schedule should get progressively tougher for the Hounds, who face Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference members Colorado Christian on Friday and Colorado State-Pueblo on Sunday on the road. They are preparing for the start of play in the new Southwest Soccer Conference later this month.
“I wanted to come here and play,” said York, who was originally recruited to ENMU by McCorkle but spent the 2003-04 school year attending the University of New Mexico. “I had been planning on coming here because I knew the men’s program was going to start.
“We have a really tough conference. It should be really exciting to play at this level against teams like that.”
ENMU’s women, who also play at Colorado Christian and CSU-Pueblo this weekend, got a split in Texas. The Zias, trying to improve on a 3-12 showing in their first season last year, beat Wesleyan 3-1 behind two second-half goals from Karly Parkins, but dropped a 1-0 decision at DBU.
McCorkle said the Zias came out flat on Saturday, giving up the match’s lone goal with just under 11 minutes left after the Lady Patriots’ goalkeeper had been ejected on a red card.
“Our warmup was a little lackadaisical, and that carried over into the first half,” McCorkle said. “I’m pleased with (getting a split), but when you know they can do better, that’s what I’m going to expect of them.”