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November 26, 2022

Soccer | Lady Aztecs player dominates season so far

Sophia Martel has scored 28 goals in seven games for Soledad

SOLEDAD — As soccer teams prepare for league play, Soledad Aztecs soccer player Sophia Martel has been dominating the first half of the varsity girls’ season.

Martel has scored 28 goals in seven games for the Lady Aztecs, leading the entire county in goals. She is currently ranked No. 12 in goals in the nation, according to online statistics.

Earlier this season, the sophomore sensation set the school record in goals in a game against Greenfield with eight — breaking her own record that she set last spring, when she scored seven goals against Gonzales and Notre Dame.

“I’m glad I set the record, but to be honest, I didn’t play that well,” Martel said. “I was initially going for 10 goals. I’m happy, but I’m not satisfied with it.”

Sophia Martel

As a freshman, Martel not only led the team in goals with 19, but she also helped lead the Lady Aztecs to a second-round appearance in the Central Coast Section Division IV playoffs. But she was forced to miss the playoffs due to an injury.

Due to Covid-19 pushing the season back to the spring, the Lady Aztecs played six league games and two playoff games.

Last season the Lady Aztecs lost only two games, both against Monterey High, who knocked Soledad out of the playoffs. Martel didn’t record a goal in either of those games.

For the short spring season, Martel was playing with an injury that limited her games and practice.

“I wasn’t able to train hard all season,” she said. “And I wasn’t able to play full games. I had to ease into the games.”

The Lady Aztecs made it to the second round of the CCS playoffs, but Martel had to watch from the sidelines as the team fell to Monterey, 1-0.

This season, however, Martel has scored a goal in almost every game, helping the Lady Aztecs achieve a 5-2 record so far.

Martel said she has high expectations for her team this season, as they try to make it back to the playoffs again.

“I want to help us improve every day that we hit the field,” she said. “I want us to make CCS.”

The Lady Aztecs will have two games before they face off against Monterey for the first time this season on Jan. 14 in Soledad.

“That’s going to be our toughest game,” Martel said. “How we perform against them will determine how we match up against the top teams in the CCS.”

Soledad Aztecs varsity girls soccer team 2021-22 (Contributed Photo)
Jason Gallardo
Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.

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