Lady Bulldog soccer has hard luck road trip

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Coach Eric Johnson and his Lady Bulldogs soccer team ended up traveling across half the state for one game, only to end up snowed out Saturday.

Saturday's games were cancelled because of falling snow and three-inches that had accumulated on the field, but Johnson offered to scrimmage against the team Moffat County was to play in the second round of the tournament, Manual, but was refused.

The game the girls did play was on Friday against the Class 5A Grand Junction Central Tigers, a tough team to face in an opener and the 10-0 score reflected the difficulty Lady 'Dogs' faced.

The Moffat County girls were able to fend off the Tigers in the first half, keeping the game at mid-field, linking their passes, and working their defense as well as they could, closing the opening half down 3-0.

The second half was a different story. Grand Junction started running a highly-effective transition offense know as the Dutch Diamond, an offense where there is a transition player in the lead and two outlets on either side.

"They were in the Diamond from the get-go after the half, and it took me 10 minutes in to the game to recognize it. It was as much my fault as anyone's that it was that successful," Johnson said.

Another problem was the girls are learning a new formation this year, which has given them trouble because of the lack of field time they've had this spring, the coach said.

Johnson was reluctant to talk about the new formation, or how he plans to use it, saying that, Jim Dudley, the Steamboat coach and Moffat County's next opponent, has a tendency of keeping tabs on the newspapers.

"The formation is on the down low right now, but I'll tell you that it's a mid-field based attack," he said. "The girls had a little trouble with it this last weekend, but we went back to the hotel room after the game and had a chalk talk about it, and I think they understand it a lot better now."

The girls will have a chance to show if they have the new system down on Thursday when they open at home against the Lady Sailors, the Western Slope Conference's (WSC) premier team and the number-eight team in the state, according to the Nine News poll.

Steamboat is known for a vicious offside trap, and they hold a great mental edge, Johnson said.

"Steamboat has a long winning history against us. We have a rivalry, maybe not as deep or intense as other sports, but it's there," the coach said. "I think if we can go into this game and try and break that mental edge, we'll have won a lot of the game right there."

The Lady Bulldogs won't have much down time after the Steamboat game. Two days later they host their second home game against Rifle, a team which is fighting for top conference honors.

"They're both tough teams. It's a heck of a way to start conference," Johnson said.

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