Hope overcomes early Cats goal to post victory

Aug. 26—CLOVIS — Clovis High's boys caught an early break on Thursday night. The Wildcats weren't able to build on it.

Junior forward Ihab Mesbah buried a penalty kick from close range in the sixth minute to give the Cats a quick lead, but Hope Christian tallied four goals before halftime and handed Clovis a 5-1 loss at Leon Williams Stadium.

After struggling to halftime, the Cats (0-2) picked up their pace in the second half. Junior Angel Avila was able to stop five of six Huskies shots, allowing only sophomore Kaden McMurry's goal in the closing moments.

"We came out and got a quick goal, and then we gradually lost possession," CHS coach Greg Trujillo said. "They scored three times tonight (inside the 18-yard) box.

"They moved the ball well. It was pretty nice to see, but we're just trying to figure out our identity."

The Albuquerque-based Huskies, a traditional Class 4A power and the defending 4A runnersup, got one goal from each of five players in their season opener. Meantime, they outshot the Cats 13-3 on goal, with junior Cody Guggino making two stops for Hope in net.

"It took us a few minutes to wake up," 12th-year Huskies coach Steve Kokulis said, referring to the lengthy bus trip. We expected some jitters, and we had some.

"They're (Cats) a good side, and they're going to have a good season."

Kokulis noted the Huskies have just one senior on their roster, having graduated about a half-dozen regulars from last year's squad.

"We were wondering where the goals were going to come from," he said. "I'm still not sure who our go-to guy will be."

The Cats travel to Lovington on Saturday for a 3 p.m. matchup with the squad which beat Hope 2-1 in last season's 4A final.

Roswell Goddard 7, Clovis boys 3 (Monday) — The Cats scored in the first minute, but the Rockets took the lead before halftime and pulled away with four second-half tallies.

Mesbah scored all three Clovis goals, while Goddard senior Oscar Varela outdid him with five tallies.

Trujillo said his goalkeepers struggled to keep shots out of the net after originally stopping them.

"We're still working on chemistry," Trujillo said. "I don't think they're a better team than us. We just had a situation where our keepers couldn't handle the ball."

Portales girls 4, Clovis JV 0 (Tuesday) — At the PHS pitch, the Lady Rams got two goals apiece from sophomore Maria Lujan and freshman Addyson Mayberry en route to a season-opening win over the Clovis High junior varsity.

Both players scored once in each half. Sophomore Lissette Gomez posted six saves in goal for PHS in notching a shutout.

The Lady Rams were slated to be back in action on Saturday at Ruidoso, with the PHS boys taking on the Warriors in the second half of the doubleheader in their season opener.

The PHS boys visit Clovis in a 6 p.m. start on Tuesday at Leon Williams Stadium. Both Portales squads then return to action on Saturday against Academy for Technology & The Classics at Santa Fe.