Willcox soccer

Juan Salazar defends a Blue Ridge player in Saturday's loss. 

WILLCOX — The Willcox soccer varsity learned a difficult lesson in their 8-0 season opening loss to defending state champion Blue Ridge on Saturday.

Despite the loss first-year coach Juan Rodriguez was not discouraged.

“It’s a tough loss, but against a really good team. It’s tough to start with the best team in the state, but now I know what to work on.”

The visiting head coach was actually the one more disconcerted.

“I know it was a win but there’s a lot of stuff to work on, a lot to clean up,” said Blue Ridge coach Kirby Elkins. “The best thing about, it’s early in the season, so we’ll take care of that.”

Blue Ridge struck first in the 10th minute with a hard-earned goal as the WIllcox defense was sharp and goalie Juan Rodriguez III made a couple of stops before the break-through.

Twenty minutes later the visitors scored again despite spending 90 percent of the time on the Willcox end of the field.

The 2-0 lead turned quickly into a 4-0 half-time advantage thanks to sharp play of senior striker Canyon Brosemann.

Blue Ridge’s final four goals were scored in less than 30-minutes to clinch the game on the mercy rule.

“I feel good. We played a good game until my kids got tired,” coach Juan Rodriguez said. “I liked the play of junior Beyonce Felix, who hustled well. Sophomore midfielder Alexis Hernandez played really good. Junior forward Eulises Lara played a really good game, too.”

Willcox will host region rivals Desert Christian, on Friday, and St. Augustine on Oct. 1.

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