Injuries are a big part of sports, especially late in the season when many teams are pushing to be in playoff contention despite rosters depleted by injury or absence.
The Camp Verde girls soccer team is a prime example — it is currently seeded No. 10 in the eight-team state playoff format and is missing several players from its roster, including senior co-captains Maddy Showers, the team’s most experienced defender, and Ady Ruiz, the team’s starting goalkeeper.
But as every good poker player knows, you have to play the hand you’ve got. That hand was short on Oct. 16, as the depleted Cowboys [3-7-1] lost 3-0 to the top-seeded, and full-rostered, Desert Christian Eagles [11-0-1] at Sam Hammerstrom Field.
Despite the relative size and health of their squad, the Cowboys only allowed three goals — fewer than the high-powered Eagles have scored in nine other games this season.
“[Desert Christian] is No. 1 in the state and we held them to three goals; I’m impressed with that,” said Cowboys head coach Pat Allen. “They’re a dominant team, and we played well with them.
“I’m real happy with our level of play.”
The Eagles had more players resting on the sideline, at any given time, than they had in the game, and substituted freely to keep their players’ legs fresh.
But the Cowboys had only two subs — junior Evelyn Paniagua-Villa and freshman Miranda Conway — and were forced to move other players around to fill in for the several missing players.
“We told [Evelyn], ‘You’re our super sub this game. Wherever we need you, we’re putting you in that position,’ because she can play just about anywhere you put her,” Allen said. “Katrina [Esparza] got moved to sweeper and she did a pretty good job there keeping the ball forward. Tally [Wallner] did a phenomenal job on defense ... she stepped right up and played that position like we knew she could.”
For the full story, please see the Friday, Oct. 23, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.