RIO RANCHO – Michael Gonzales, the third varsity girls’ soccer coach in the last three seasons at Rio Rancho High School, knows his season won’t be full of losses.
After all, a 2-1 loss to visiting Centennial in his Aug. 22 debut could have gone either way.
The visiting Hawks scored the first goal of the season with an “own” goal against the Rams, only to see senior Makenna Lee tie it with a tally late in the first half.
Early in the second half, a Hawks’ player beat Rams goalkeeper Bella Poccia and that decided the outcome.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win,” Gonzales said. “Hats off to Centennial; they played really well. We learned a lot from this, though; I think we had really good moments; we just need to go through these growing pains and we’ll figure it out and come out strong next game.
RRHS Athletic Director Sal Gonzales knows his school hasn’t had many three-sport student-athletes, but he knows Lee is one of the latest.
The one-time Cibola High School student-athlete transferred to RRHS, where she also plays basketball for (former Cibola) coach Lori Mabrey and is a member of the Rams’ varsity girls’ track & field team, also coached by Gonzales – Lee ran the first leg at state in May ion the Rams’ 4×200 relay team.
It’s been awhile since Lee was on the pitch, she said, after missing late second-half action with a minor leg injury that received a pack of ice.
“I played (soccer) for 10 years; I played until I was a freshman (at Cibola),” Lee said. “I didn’t make the Cibola team my freshman year, so I played volleyball.”
Oh, my; a potential four-sport student-athlete? Except volleyball and soccer are fall sports, so forget that notion. And Lee was a middle blocker last season for Rams coach Toby Manzanares, her first year at RRHS after moving up the hill.
She once played soccer, volleyball and basketball, she said, “in middle school.”
Basketball is her best sport, she said, admitting the game on the pitch is coming back.
“My touch is kinda needs some work, but everything else is still there,” guess. This is fun.”
Although she didn’t wear 24 in volleyball, that’s her number on the pitch and on the court.
“Makenna had made the decision to come out to soccer,” Gonzales said. “I was her former coach for track, so there is that connection.”
Mayfield 1, Rams 0: The next day, visiting Mayfield rebounded from its 5-1 loss at Cleveland and shut out the Rams.
(Lee) was able to come back and play the next game.
“She played keeper the first half after Isabela Ferdinand had a minor injury the first three minutes of the game,” Gonzales said. “Makenna was able to defend the goal with no goals against her. Isabela went back in the second half. Unfortunately, we lost.”