ROSWELL — After finishing second in the state Class 1A-3A state tourament last season, Portales boys soccer coach Brian Kirchner tried to toughen up the Rams' schedule this season.
So far, they're paying a price in the win-loss column, but Kirchner is hoping the experience pays off down the line.
PHS played without two injured starters and another out for disciplinary reasons on Thursday, Kirchner said, and came up short in a 6-3 loss at Class 4A Roswell High.
The Rams (4-6) face Class 5A Hobbs in a 1 p.m. home matchup on Saturday, and have already lost an overtime decision to Class 5A neighbor Clovis.
PHS twice tied the Coyotes, the latter at 3-3 on a goal by Zach Blaeser off a free kick by senior Tyler Kangas early in the second half. Roswell High's Jesus Sotelo countered a couple of minutes later with the third of his four goals in the match to put the Coyotes (8-6) in front for good.
The Rams were coming off a 4-0 loss at New Mexico Military on Tuesday.
"I'm never happy with a loss, but I'm much more pleased with how we played overall today, especially after Tuesday," Kirchner said. "We had probably two or three point-blank (shots) that we missed, and on defense we had some mental errors where they shouldn't have scored."
Senior Brandon Gomez wiped out an early 2-0 deficit with a pair of goals in a span of about four minutes for Portales, the latter off a free kick, but Sotelo put the Coyotes in front 3-2 at halftime with his second goal about a minute later.
"Despite being down some guys, we're trying to fight through this," Kirchner said. "We're hoping this tough competition gets us ready for state later on."
Lady Rams edged by Artesia — At Artesia, the Portales Lady Rams led for more than 70 minutes before the host Lady Bulldogs punched in a pair of goals for a 2-1 victory.
Jessica Leap scored in the eighth minute, off an assist from Alma Gonzales, and that score held up until Ashley Boyce scored for Artesia in the 72nd minute. Delaney Maynard then got the game-winner with about two minutes left when her corner kick snuck into the goal.
"We didn't think it went in, but the referees did," PHS coach Megan Wilson said. "From where we were, we really couldn't tell for sure."
Portales (4-8) had a 12-11 advantage in shots on goal, but after dominating play in the first half the Lady Rams saw Artesia take control after the break.
"We played an amazing first half, the best I've seen us play, but we were defending the entire second half," Wilson said. "When that happens, it's only a matter of time before they get one in.
"We dominated the first half, but we should've scored more goals."
The Lady Rams are idle until hosting Desert Academy in a District 2/1A-3A match on Oct. 6.
Roswell High 6, Portales 3
Portales 2 1 — 3
Roswell High 3 3 — 6
R — Jesus Sotelo, 2nd minute
R — Fernando Sanchez, 20th
P — Brandon Gomez (Tyler Kangas), 28th
P — Gomez, 32nd
R — Sotelo, 33rd
P — Zach Blaeser (Kangas), 44th
R — Sotelo, 46th
R — Sotelo, 50th
R — Luis Garcia, 66th
Shots on goal — Portales 7, Roswell High 11. Corner kicks — Portales 3, Roswell High 4. Saves — Portales 5 (Lane Nichols 3, Jesus Ordonez 2), Roswell High 4 (Brandon Rodriguez 4). Records — Portales 4-6, Roswell High 8-6.
Artesia 2, Portales 1
Portales 1 0 — 1
Artesia 0 2 — 2
P — Jessica Leap (Alma Gonzales), 8th minute
A — Ashley Boyce, 72nd
A — Delaney Maynard, 78th
Shots on goal — Portales 12, Artesia 11. Corner kicks — Portales 2, Artesia 1. Saves — Portales 9 (Jasmin Vega 9), Artesia 11 (Sierra Montire 11). Record — Portales 4-8. Junior varsity — Portales 2, Artesia 1.