ALBUQUERQUE – Roughly a month and a half ago, Zoie Hensley was just happy to back on the pitch.
The Taos senior wasn’t sure how her surgically-repaired back would handle the rigors of competitive soccer. But after getting her first goal out of the way in a season-opening win over Capital, Hensley said afterwards that she had a feeling she would be just fine – and she would be absolutely right.
Fast forward to game 12 of the season and Hensley has led the No. 4-ranked Tigers to an 11-1 record, including a 1-0 win over No. 5 Bosque School (6-8) on Wednesday in non-district play.
While the Bobcats controlled possession for much of the second half, Hensley and fellow forward Lucia Costanza would combine to record the game-winner in the 74th minute.
“We had to play more of a tactical match since we don’t have the athletes they have,” Taos coach Michael Hensley said, “so by allowing them to have possession in the midfield, we were hoping we would have to opportunity to counter attack.”
And that opportunity would finally come in the 74th minute.
Sophomore Costanza, from near mid field, split a pair of Bobcat defenders before feeding Hensley near the left outside corner of the goal box. And after one cut toward the center of the field, Hensley fired a shot past a diving Louisa MacKenzie to record her 40th goal of the season. It was Constanza’s 27th assist.
“We didn’t have many opportunities, but when we did, we made the most of it,” Zoie Hensley said. “Today, I think we found out today that we can perform in big games.”
Tigers goal keeper Katie Emery also cam up big for the Tigers with six saves, including three in the final five minutes that ultimately preserved the win. And even at 11-1, Michael Hensley said the best thing about his team is that it is only going to get better as the team prepares for next week’s return of the team’s best defender, Dawn Penso, who is recovering from knee surgery.
“Once she gets back, we can move Angelica (Pacheco) back to her spot as an attacking mid even though she’s been so great for us covering the entire back,” he said.
Costanza said she can hardly wait.
“We’re pretty good right now, but we’re going to be so much better,” she said.
As for the Bobcats, they’ve now dropped five of their past seven games. And in those losses, Bosque has scored just one goal.
“We’re really good at holding possession, but finishing up top has been a problem,” Bosque coach Jacob Cortez said. “The (season-ending) injury to Sarah Moulton – our best player – is still something we’re dealing with and we’re still looking for someone to step up.
“But we’re still playing well. We took Sandia Prep to overtime and took Hope to (penalty kicks). We’re getting there. We’re dominating games as far as possession. We just need to start finishing.”