Category Archives: Colt Soccer

Team unity key to Colt soccer as season gets underway

As is the case every year, the Colt soccer team is set to start their season with only a few practices under their belt. But that doesn’t mean coach John Barbour and new assistant Dewayne Roberts aren’t looking forward to getting started.

“We’re just excited,” Barbour said. “We want to see how we are with everybody else. We know communication is going to be a downside and our conditioning, but we’ll get there. I think by the time district starts we’ll be ready to go and hopefully even before that. We’re going to do what we can to compete with everybody and hopefully pick up some victories.”

This year’s crop of Colts —which numbers about 35-40 players, with less than a dozen returners — was initially slated to start the season on Tuesday against 5A Goddard. However, that match has been pushed back to Thursday, Sept. 21. Instead, Barbour and his Colts will get a few more precious practice sessions before hosting 4A rival Socorro this coming Saturday, Aug. 26. at 3:00 P.M.

But for most of the pre-district season, the Colts will be playing up, against 5A and 6A teams – and Barbour said that’s OK.

“What’s the point of holding back? There’s no reason to just play defensive. If you’re going to go for it, you’ve got to go for it. We’re looking for a good game. We go to their place, so it won’t be easy, but I think they’ve got some young guys as well, so we’ll hope for the best. ”

With less than three week’s practice before that road opener, Barbour said his squad is mostly working on the fundamentals, including first touch, passing and conditioning, but also just getting to know each other.

“We’ve got to be getting better at communicating, because that’s always a problem. Most of the kids at the other schools have grown up together, but these guys have known each other for about 10 days. If they can at least know each other’s names, I’ll be happy with that. If I can get to know their names, I’ll be happy,” he laughed. “But it’s just communicating; getting their skills back, because a lot of them probably haven’t played during the summer; shaking the cobwebs off but also getting into match fitness and getting conditioned.”

With the team just learning who everyone is and what they can do, the coach is still figuring out who will play where. One of the names that stood out last year and should again this year is Martin Ahumada, the senior cousin of NMMI’s recording-setting scorer, Everardo Ahumada.

“Good defender. Very quick,” Barbour said of the fullback. “He may actually move up front so he may beat his cousin’s record. We’ll see.”

The keeper position is always key, and this year the Colts are looking at two possibilities, starting with senior Juan Bellot Burke.

“He’s got great hands,” the coach said. “He hasn’t played for a long time, so we’re having to kind of work that out, but we’ve also got a freshman, Allen Varela, who’s looking really promising. Varela’s communication with the back four is really, really good. Those two aree going to have to battle it out a little bit, and we’ll see who ends up at that spot.”

This season, there are also four Lady Colts on the squad — Frida Antopia, Miranda Garcia, Frida Ruizesparza, and Samantha Steadman  — with Antopia likely getting some playing time on the varsity squad.

“They want to play,” Barbour said. “So we’re going to give them that opportunity and I would imagine at least two of them on the JV side will probably be starting, but we’ll have to wait and see how that all plays out. There’s a lot of guys and gals who are vying for those starting positions, and that’s going to depend on effort, attendance, ability, and all that.”

Whoever sees time on the field will be seeing tough competition. Besides Goddard, the Colts will square off against 5A Roswell, Artesia and Lovington; 6A Clovis; and a mix of 5A and 6A schools at the Coyote Classic Sept. 1-2. But Barbour wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s a good test,” he said. “If you can play with the 5A and 6As, then it gives you kind of a good start when you’re going into the 3As and 4As and you feel like you’ve really got a chance against them. It’s tough competition, but you’re not going to get better if you don’t test yourself.”

And the Colts will need to be prepped when they open district Sept. 16.

“Hope Christian is definitely the front runner,” Barbour said. “But Moriarty’s no slouch. I think we split with them (last year.) Portales, always a good competition between us. You never know who’s going to win between our two teams. And then Ruidoso. They were very young last year so those kids are going to be a little older so I expect they’re going to be a little bit tougher.”

For the first time in four years, the Colts didn’t advance to the postseason last year, but it was close, just missing out on an at-large pick from the seeding committee, which easily could have happened, considering how close the win/loss records were for the lower-seeded teams.

“You hope for a helpful bid at times and sometimes you get unlucky as well,” Barbour said. “We’ll just take it as it comes and hopefully this year it’ll be a no brainer and we’ll win district and we’ll be able to go.”

And while the group is still getting to know each other — including coach Roberts, who’s an Eastern New Mexico grad with a solid background in soccer — Barbour said the team spirit is strong.

“They’ve kind of gelled quickly, more so than most teams I’ve had in the past. They seem a little closer. We’ll just have to wait and see how that plays out, but right now the spirits are high and they all seem to get along, despite the majority of them being new.”

Colt soccer falls in close match to Portales

NMMI Sports Press

coltsoccer2014PORTALES — The Colt soccer team (5-12-2, 3-4-1) was hoping to add one more victory to its regular-season stats Saturday, but couldn’t quite pull it off, as Portales topped the Colts 2-1 in the district finale in Portales.

The Rams led 1-0 at the half, then made it 2-0 in the second until about 15 minutes remained when Ivan Gonzalez scored the lone goal for NMMI. And that’s how it ended despite both teams having opportunities.

“We played OK,” said coach John Barbour. “It wasn’t great. We could have done a lot better. I think we were just tired and we really didn’t show the energy we had against Moriarty.”

The best story of the day, though, came from the JV match.

Because the NMMI bus was delayed, Barbour suggested dropping the final JV game of the season. But the Rams had plans to honor a freshman who developed terminal brain cancer last summer and wanted to get the match in.

And the NMMI players agreed.

“Despite our players having plans for homecoming, dates for homecoming, when I went in and explained the situation, they all agreed we’ve got to play this game,” he said. “I was really impressed with the team putting someone else before their plans for Saturday night.”

And so they played an abbreviated, 20-minute half game, falling 2-1, and the Colts honored the Portales player with a team chant in his name.

“Our kids were real happy to go do that,” Barbour said. “It was kind of cool.”

Whether the Colts have more games to play is now up to the NMAA seeding committee, which will meet Sunday to announce the 12 teams in Class 4-4A that will make it to the state playoffs. The MaxPreps predictions prior to Saturday’s game showed NMMI at No. 10, with district rivals Hope Christian at No. 1 and Portales at No. 5.

Twelve teams are chosen for the first round of playoffs — set for Oct. 28 or 29 — at the home field of the higher seed. The top four teams draw a bye, which means the Colts will almost certainly travel if selected.

Colt soccer gets big win over Moriarty

NMMI's Obed Abel gets a header pass to a teammate before Moriarty's Isaac Pellerin can break things up on defense. Photo by Laura Brown.

NMMI’s Obed Abel gets a header pass to a teammate before Moriarty’s Isaac Pellerin can break things up on defense. Photo by Laura Brown.


Karen Boehler

NMMI Sports Press

Ignacio Ongay wins a free ball situation with a header at midfield. Photo by Laura Brown.

Ignacio Ongay wins a free ball situation with a header at midfield. Photo by Laura Brown.

The Colt soccer team moved one step closer to a berth at state Tuesday with a 4-0 victory over former 5A team Moriarty.

It was probably the best effort by NMMI all season.

“They really showed up to play today. They brought it,” said coach John Barbour. “They brought the things we worked on in practice. Possession was great. Passing was great. They were playing a couple of tiers ahead instead of just one level to the next level. They actually played the ball from the defense up to the striker, dropping it off then playing a dangerous pass in then crossing and finishing. It was wonderful to watch and good to see these guys come this far.”

Save by by Colt keeper Luis Ortiz. Photo by Laura Brown.

Save by by Colt keeper Luis Ortiz. Photo by Laura Brown.

For almost 30 minutes, the game was scoreless, as the Pintos dominated the offense but couldn’t get anything past the Colt defense. Then, with 29:00 gone and the NMMI offense on point, Sebastian Uribe slipped a ball past Moriarty keeper Ethan Tolleson to put the Colts up 1-0.

Four minutes later, on another NMMI drive, Nicholas Rodriguez centered a shot to Hector Reyna Jimenez who sent the ball off the keeper and to Obed Abel, who dropped it in the net.

Sebastian Uribe working against two Pinto defenders mid midfield. Uribe had the Colt's first and last goals in the game. Photo by Laura Brown.

Sebastian Uribe working against two Pinto defenders at midfield. Uribe had the Colt’s first and last goals in the game. Photo by Laura Brown.

As the Colt offense continued to dominate, Abel got his second goal with just a minute left in the game when he sent a bicycle kick into the corner of the net.

Then, after almost 19 scoreless minutes in the second half — despite an increased offensive push by the Pintos — Uribe put in his second goal of the game to make it 4-0.

The increasingly desperate Moriarty offense tried to get by the NMMI defense but couldn’t, and the game ended in the 4-0 shutout.

Moriarty's Talon Hart and NMMI's Nicholas Rodriguez collide while attempting to gain possession of a ball up in the air. Photo by Laura Brown.

Moriarty’s Talon Hart and NMMI’s Nicholas Rodriguez collide while attempting to gain possession of a ball up in the air. Photo by Laura Brown.

Barbour was pleased with both his scorers.

“Abel really kind of calmed down today and took his time when he was shooting,” the coach said. “We were commenting on one of them, we could almost see his chest kind of heave like, ‘OK. Just gotta put it on frame.’ And sure enough he did, and he got a great goal off of it.”

Uribe started the day off with a goal in the JV game — giving him a hat trick for the day — along with a number of shots in the 2-2 tie. (Mark Pralat got the other Colt JV goal)

“He was on fire so I was like, ‘We’re going to get him going. Because he’s doing well today,’” Barbour said. “We played both of them. Both got some goals and played real well. And the good news they should both be back next year so it’s good to get them some experience.”

Luis Cordero clears a ball getting too close to the NMMI goal. The Colt defense did an outstanding job of preventing the Pintos from getting good shots on goal. Photo by Laura Brown.

Luis Cordero clears a ball getting too close to the NMMI goal. The Colt defense did an outstanding job of preventing the Pintos from getting good shots on goal. Photo by Laura Brown.

With the win, the Colts improve to 5-11-1 overall and 3-3-1 in District 4-A-4A, with one game left in the regular season.

And with that last game set for Saturday at 3 p.m. in Portales, Barbour simply wants to concentrate on doing the best they can.

“All we’re focusing on is what we’re doing, then we’ll see how we’re going to end up Saturday,” he said. “Every single player knows exactly where we stand. We had a nice little talk about it and we’re hoping to finish the season out strong.”

East Mountain edges Colt soccer

Ivan Gonzales scored the lone Colt goal in Saturday's game, tying the match late in the first half.

Ivan Gonzales scored the lone Colt goal in Saturday’s game, tying the match late in the first half.

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

Jesus Acuna moves past a Timberwolf.

Jesus Acuna moves past a Timberwolf.

On paper, Saturday’s soccer game between NMMI and East Mountain didn’t mean much: it was a non-district game near the end of the district season. But throughout the game, Timberwolf coach Frank Trusiano kept telling his players that because East Mountain was only a game behind the Colts in a MaxPreps post-season poll, a win would guarantee them a berth at state.

And whether that’s true or not, the T-wolves must have taken it to heart, as they came out fired up in the second half, breaking a 1-1 tie to winning 2-1.

Daron Hernandez out-races Tiumberwold Ryan Lesperance.

Daron Hernandez out-races Tiumberwold Ryan Lesperance.

“Every single game we play has post-season implications,” said coach John Barbour. “Because they use your regular season record as well as your district record. And (East Mountain) happens to be in 1A-4A, so yeah. This will weigh heavily when they’re deciding on seeding and things of this nature.”

The first half was the story of very early and very late goals.

After the Colts just missed a shot in the first minute, Timberwolf Liam Painter put a shot into the back of a nearly-empty net.

Ignacio Ongay gets the ball up as he out runs Ethan Burgos.

Ignacio Ongay gets the ball up as he out runs Ethan Burgos.

“We were too involved going forward and had one center back staying back and one v. one vs. their forward and he lost out,” Barbour said of the goal. “He didn’t have any support. And as I explained to the boys, that’s what happens. When you don’t support your teammates and get in the right positions, bad things happen.”

NMMI dominated the rest of the first half offensively, but it wasn’t until about four minutes from the end that sophomore Ivan Gonzales tied the game at 1-1.

“He’s got a really strong left foot and he just hit it hard enough that the keeper thought he could catch it instead of using his fists and that thought was probably just not the best idea,” Barbour said.

Luis Cordero gets his foot on the ball.

Luis Cordero gets his foot on the ball.

East Mountain came out more dominant on defense in the second half, and while both sides had early chances, T-wolf Ethan Wagener sent a ball from from far back that simly bounced over the keepers head and into the net.

And that was it for the scoring the rest of the game, as despite some solid Colt shots, nothing went in.

Barbour said East Mountain concentrated on defense, which made the differnce.

“We had possessions throughout the whole game,” he said. “They had about five people back playing defense, just basically trying to hold things down then relying on kicking the ball far and maybe getting lucky. A lot of times luck has a role in the game and that’s exactly what happened. A couple of bad bounces or what-have-you and the ball’s in the back of the net. And as you saw, that’s basically what happened.”

NMMIs season now comes down to two final games: the home finale Tuesday vs. Moriarty and the last regular-season game Saturday at Portales.

Nine Colts score in 9-1 soccer win over Ruidoso

NMMI Luis Rios takes a shot on goal in the second half. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

NMMI Luis Rios takes a shot on goal in the second half. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.


Karen Boehler

NMMI Sports Press

NMMI's Ignacio Ongay and Ruidoso's Johan De la Torrey battle for a battle near the sideline. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

NMMI’s Ignacio Ongay and Ruidoso’s Johan De la Torrey battle for a battle near the sideline. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

The NMMI soccer team got a big win over district foe Ruidoso Tuesday, pounding the winless Warriors 9-1 with nine different Colts putting balls in the back of the net.

“We had some defenders getting on the goal sheet with loose balls coming out,” said coach John Barbour. “They put them on frame, and any time you put them on frame you’ve got a chance to score a goal. We got some from outside midfielders. We got some from forwards and attacking midfielders. It’s good to have these guys have a chance to put one in the back of the net. They played well and it was a team goal.”

NMMI wasted no time in getting on the board, scoring in the first minute on a shot by Sebastian Uribe. Less than a minute later, Martin Ahumada notched a goal, and with just under four minutes gone in the game, Ivan Gonzalez made it 3-0.

Corner kick by Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Corner kick by Nicholas Rodriguez. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

It then took almost 10 minutes for Quang Nguyen to knock it into the net, then defender John Liakos made it 5-0 with about 15 minutes into the match, and defender Luis Cordeo made it 6-0 with about nine minutes remaining.

The Colts wasted little time in adding to the score in the second half as Kamil Alaoui became the seventh NMMI player to score, then Warrior Aldo Cardenas broke up the shutout with a shot almost from mid field that just got over the head of keeper Luis Ortiz.

But midway through the second half Daron Hernandez got that goal back, then late in the game, Hector Reyna Jimenez got a ball in after a flurry at the net. Freshman Oswaldo Romero pulled Warrior keeper Alfonso Gomez out out the net long enough for the ball to roll in.

Warrior Edder Bravo comes up to try and stop the advance of NMMI's Kamil Alaoui. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Warrior Edder Bravo comes up to try and stop the advance of NMMI’s Kamil Alaoui. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Barbour said the main objective was just to play their game and hopefully get a good result since it was a district match, and Ruidoso is in a rebuilding year.

“We know we’re down in the goal count as far as goals for and goals against, so we wanted to score some goals today,” he said. “That’s what we really wanted to stress. But our kids played really well. We’ve worked on a lot of things over the last couple of weeks and it’s starting to come to fruition. Hopefully we’ll see that even in matches against tougher opponents.”

Something else the team wanted to work on was passing, which they did well, especially early.

Colt Daron Hernandez with the goal in the second half past Warriro keeper Alfonso Gomez. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

Colt Daron Hernandez with the goal in the second half past Warrior keeper Alfonso Gomez. Photo courtesy Laura Brown.

“When we had our starters in we played a lot of two-touch passing and a lot of it was just passing at angles and just really working the ball without having to work it down to the goal ourselves,” the coach said. “So a lot better teamwork.”

The Colts (4-10-2, 2-3-1) will try to make it two wins in a row Saturday when they face off against former district foe Easy Mountain. The teams battled to a 2-2 tie in the season opener.

“At that point we’re trying to learn each other’s names,” Barbour said. “So we’re hoping we get a much better result this game, but they’ve had just as many practices as we have, so there’s no telling if they’re just as good or more improved than we are. So we can’t overlook that. We’ve just got to go into it and be ready to play.”

That match is set for 2 p.m. on Stapp Parade Field.