RHS girls look for big finishers

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By Dave Kavanaugh

“I think we might turn the corner this season with our ability to score,” said Robertson girls’ soccer coach Ray Parks.

In recent campaigns, following through and finishing on scoring chances has been an Achilles’ heel for the Lady Cardinals, but Parks is optimistic that change is coming.

“We have a good group,” he said. “We did lose some good players including goalkeeper Marla Duran. We thought we were gonna be hurting at keeper. We were going to have Ashley Jaramillo in there, but we have a couple of other girls who are going to play at goal, including our JV goalkeeper coming up, and that will allow us to use Ashley in the field, where she has a lot of skills. So we’re in pretty good shape.”

“We have three good captains — Belen Romero, Brianna Gallegos and Elena Martinez. A lot of it is maturity and work ethic, and they push a lot of their teammates to work at their peak levels.”

“The rest of the girls, we have good leaders; the upperclassmen will help a lot. They’re mature girls who know the game.”

The Lady Cards also have a promising group of younger players, including eighth-grader Caitlin Diefendorf.

“She has the speed and finishing ability that might cure some of our problems with scoring,” Parks said. “Elena and Caitlyn will move up. Those two have the confidence and skills to put the ball in the net.

“We have a solid defense coming back, and a good midfield.” The latter includes Mikayla Maes, whom the coach describes as “a solid leader who’s going to really help us at midfield.”

“We don’t have a set keeper right now. Ashley Jaramillo will still start (initially) but we (want to rotate others in) so Ashley can play other positions on the field.

“I expect a good season,” said Parks, who’s been a regular in recent years as district coach of the year and leader of a district championship team. “I think we’re going to do well.”

One notable change Beastie Girl fans can expect is the opposition.

“We dropped the private schools from our schedule but still managed to put together a good schedule,” Parks said, crediting athletic director Mike Yara. “That should help us with the rankings at the end of the year.”

Robertson plays in Portales on Saturday to kick off the season. The Lady Cards have a first home match against Monte del Sol on Monday, Aug. 30.