Diego Carranza (left) fights for the ball in the game against Bisbee, which the Lobos won 3-1. Photo by Dave Lumia

It took only five games for the Patagonia Lobos to double last season’s win total in soccer. But don’t think for a minute that the Lobos are satisfied with that. 

The Lobos, who had a 1-11 record in 2022, exceeded the win total with back-to-back victories over Bisbee (3- 1) and Leading Edge Academy Gilbert (2-1). 

“We’re on track for more wins then last year, which is great. But there’s definitely stuff we’ve got to improve on,” first-year head coach Alex Santos said following the victory over Leading Edge. “We set a goal of what we want to accomplish. Two wins is not enough.” 

The two victories came after Patagonia had failed to score in losing their first three games to St. Augustine, Desert Christian, and Willcox, all of whom dwarf Patagonia in terms of enrollment. 

“Soccer is difficult for us to be competitive in,” Santos said. “We don’t have the numbers. 

“I’m really proud of the kids. When things aren’t going your way, it’s hard to keep motivated. I tell them if you keep working hard, the goals will come. The game’s supposed to be fun, but it’s more fun when you’re winning.” 

Diego Carranza scored two goals and Leonardo Nunez one in the victory over Bisbee. Greyson Gehlert had two assists, D.J. Castro had one, and goaltender Jaxon Yslava had 14 saves. “He kept us alive,” Santos said. 

Arturo Magallanez scored both goals in the win over Leading Edge, with assists from Carranza and Nunez. 

Santos also praised the efforts of Isaiah Ruiz and Gabe Nunez on the defensive end: “Isaiah is a real workhorse. He doesn’t get tired. He’s an ironman when we need him.” 

The Lobos are still a work in progress. Following their two victories came an 8-0 loss to Benson, a 4-0 repeat victory over Leading Edge and a 3-1 loss in a rematch with Bisbee, which brought their record to 3-5. Santos said the Benson loss was indicative of the team’s growing pains. 

“They took advantage of us not playing our best,” he said. “We just need to try to keep getting better. It’s a day-by-day process.” 

The Lobos wrap up their season in October with home games against Pima (Oct. 3), St. Augustine (Oct. 6) and Willcox (Oct. 12) and road games at North Valley Christian (Oct. 4) and The Gregory School (Oct. 10).