Roundy helps Aztec sink Valencia 2-0

Lady Tigers go above the .500 mark with shutout win

Jake Newby

AZTEC — After coming up short on scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity, the Aztec girls soccer team finally broke through in the second half of today's game.

Aztec's Alana Larkins (4) and Valencia's Dayanara Bustero compete for the ball during their game on Saturday at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.

Autumn Roundy and Alana Larkins each scored goals after halftime to help Aztec (5-4) win 2-0 versus Valencia at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.

Lady Tigers coach Kelly Kelso said the team was "embarrassed" in a 3-0 loss to Piedra Vista on Tuesday, and in turn, played with a chip on its shoulder against Valencia (5-4).

"Coming off a not a good loss on Tuesday, we had a good week of practice," Kelso said. "This was a good redeemer, because Valencia's no slouch — they hustle, and they're pretty well organized."

Aztec completely owned possession of the ball in the game.

In the first half, the hosts shot themselves in the foot repeatedly by going offside when they appeared to be on the cusp of a scoring chance. On a few other occasions, they had point-blank shots from close range but sent the ball flying well over the net.

But Aztec kept plugging away after halftime. Eighteen minutes into the second half, junior Alycea Alives booted a ball from about 15 feet out and was stopped by Valencia's netminder. But Roundy was in the right place at the right time, sliding into the ball and kicking it past the out-of-position goalie to give her team a 1-0 lead.

Aztec's Autumn Roundy (10) gets a hug from teammate Grace Olsen after her goal against Valencia on Saturday at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.

Nearly 10 minutes later, Roundy ignited another offensive attack. The eighth-grader got deep into the box and connected on a shot attempt, but it was turned away. Then, on a play that was a mirror image of the first goal, Larkins came sliding in to score on the rebound.

"She's a very aggressive player, and she's very confident," Kelso said of Roundy. "For a forward, you've got to be confident. All week, we've talked about finishing, and we've been sloppy with that. So we've just got to (get the girls) focused and stay focused on that. And that's what we emphasized at halftime."

During the final 10 minutes of the game, Aztec didn't resort to a conservative style of play, and instead continued to force the ball into enemy territory. Kelso said that was good to see, since offense has not been the team's strong suit early on.

"Offensively, we've been struggling," Kelso said. "Defense and possession has been better than last year, but the offense is coming along slowly. It's all about peaking at the right time, though, so we'll keep working."

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.