Lady Scorpions win via first-half mercy rule, 11-0 Tuesday at Hutchison Stadium. Matt Hollinshead/The Daily Times
FARMINGTON — The memories of how the 2015 and 2016 seasons could have turned out still weigh on the minds of the members of the Farmington girls soccer program.
The Lady Scorpions had strong back-to-back regular seasons, including undefeated district records, but couldn’t get past the 5A state semifinals. The 2016 state semifinals contest, a 2-1 overtime loss to eventual state champion Albuquerque Academy, stung particularly hard.
"It was a little bit out of our reach. There's that hunger, for sure," coach Brynn Cochran said. "It hurt, but it's our fuel this year. Any time I say push harder, I go, 'Remember last year.' "
The team's hunger to hoist the blue trophy has kept growing, and that is pushing Farmington in 2017. A solid number of the team's key performers from the previous two seasons are back, motivated by all the heartbreak.
"We want it. We want it so bad," sophomore defender Olivia Larson said. "We're training as hard as we can, and we're ready to hopefully take it. I think coming so close the last two years just makes us want it the most this year. It's awful to leave (state) that way."
One thing that could benefit the Lady Scorpions later on is that they already have taken part in several contests decided by one goal, ensuring they’ll be ready for such tight moments at state. For example, Farmington’s matches against teams like Piedra Vista, Hope Christian and St. Pius were 2-1 contests.
"All of it is preparing us mentally," Cochran said. "They're pushing, they're playing hard. The desire is there. Do I believe in this team? One-hundred percent."
From attacking the net hard head on or from the wing to playing tight, aggressive defense, Farmington wants all its players helping those respective causes on both sides of the field — regardless of whether that player's expertise is on offense or defense.
Cochran said Farmington (7-2, 1-0) must keep creating those "smart opportunities" and taking advantage of one-on-one matchups on offense when facing tougher foes. On defense, Cochran said her back line must keep moving the ball well and opening things up for the midfielders.
In the end, one question stands: is 2017 Farmington’s year to win it all?
“Out of all of them, this is the team that can do it,” senior forward Arin Coleman said. “We, most definitely, now have set leaders to help the younger girls step up their game. For offense, what works is when we connect. And we just have a stellar defense all around. The talent we have on our back line is insane.”
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.