The Lady Warriors are coming off an disappointing 1-17 season – with their only victory coming by way of forfeit after it was found the other team had used an ineligible player in defeating Ruidoso.
They were 0-6 in District 3-1A/3A, having been 10-goaled and/or shut out in 15 of their 17 losses. The closest the Lady Warriors came to a victory was a 6-4 loss to Hatch.
But rather than get their heads down and give up, a dozen Ruidoso girls banded together, raised their own money and made their way to a soccer camp in Portales over the summer, learning some invaluable skills they hope to use on the field this fall.
“For them to do that on their own, that shows good attitude, and attitude has been my biggest problem,” said Ruidoso coach Darien Ross. “For some of them in the past, this has been more of a social club than a commitment to play soccer.”
The Lady Warriors attended clinics conducted by coaches and players at Eastern New Mexico University, playing games against area squads.
That included a contest against Artesia that surprised the Lady Bulldogs, a game in which Ruidoso held the ball about 75 percent of the time and ended in a tie.
“They learned a lot and improved tremendously, both on and off the field,” Ross said. “I was really proud of them.”
Numbers are the key for the Lady Warriors, and Ross is still looking for girls wanting to be a part of the team.
“We do need more girls, including 7th graders who would be willing to work out with us, but not play,” Ross said. “But there is a better attitude with these girls. I’ve coached for four years now, and I think this is the best group of girls I’ve had in four years of coaching.”
Among those girls is senior Alexis McClain, who is rejoining the team after a year in Hawaii. Also back from last season are seniors Mariah Douds and Daniela Puente, and junior Vamilex Miramontes.
The Lady Warrior season starts Friday with a game at Las Cruces Oñate, and the girls will play their first home game Aug. 28 against Goddard at White Mountain Athletic Complex.