By Dave Wagner
CMI sports writer
CLOVIS — For more than 60 minutes on Thursday, it looked like the Clovis High boys soccer team might be headed for a sixth consecutive one-goal decision.
Then Portales suddenly tied the score — a goal the Wildcats claimed didn’t actually go into the net.
The Cats, though, bounced back with two goals in less than four minutes and four all told down the stretch to pull away to a 5-1 victory over the Rams at the Yucca soccer complex.
Junior Josh Otero had two goals and an assist for the Cats (2-5), who lost 4-2 to Roswell High in their opener and then went 1-4 over the next five, with all decided by a single tally.
“That’s been the story of our season,” CHS coach Greg Trujillo s aid. “We have countless opportunities, but we aren’t able to convert.”
Clovis dominated possession for the most part, outshooting the Rams 11-5 on goal and notching a 9-2 edge in corner kicks. The Cats had several opportunities in front of the net after Otero’s goal in the sixth minute, but weren’t able to add on.
Junior Alejandro Munoz tied it for the Rams (2-2), getting inside the box and slipping a shot past Cats goalkeeper James Smart with about 17 1/2 minutes left.
“It was definitely outside the net,” Clovis senior midfielder Adam Wagener said. “But you have to play with what (the referees) call.”
Trujillo didn’t think the ball went in either, but added there’s nothing you can do about it..
“In soccer, it’s a game of momentum,” he said. “When you don’t capitalize on your opportunities, it’ll come back to bite you.”
Otero punched in the go-ahead goal less than two minutes later, taking a pass from Luke Bussen in front of the net and banging it home. Alejandro Munoz then scored from the left wing on about a 20-yard shot that bounced in off the hands of goalkeeper Lane Nichols to give the Cats control.
Clovis scored twice in the remaining time, including a goal by junior Juan Carrera as time expired.
“I hope this win helps us play better,” Wagener said. “We’ve been in every single game, but we just haven’t been able to finish. We started playing more as a team at the end, and we worked the ball around better.”
Despite the loss, Rams first-year coach Nathan Dodge was relatively pleased with his team’s play. One of the Rams’ wins was a 5-4 verdict over the Clovis JV at home last week.
“We kind of ran out of gas, but we’re young,” Dodge said. “The kids played hard. It was one of our best games of the year.”