Lady Bulldogs end season with a tie at Olathe

Tying is better than losing.

That's what the Lady Bulldogs soccer team found out in the season-ending game Tuesday in Olathe.

After two overtimes, the two teams remained tied at 1-1, giving Moffat County its first non-loss of their 0-12-1 year.

The Lady 'Dogs' lone goal was scored on a direct kick by Jenna Beckerman in the second half, answering an Olathe goal scored at the start of the game.

"The shot that Jenna took was perfect. Along with all the girls playing the way they should have all year, it made for a good close to the season," Lady 'Dogs coach Eric Johnson said. "They were playing aggressive, carrying the ball to goal and taking shots we just had some tough breaks as far as a game-winning goal."

Tough breaks came in the form of one Beth Shonts goal attempt, and two shots by Meagen Ellgen that ricocheted off the goal's crossbar.

Rejection by the net gives the sense that the Lady Bulldogs have fought not only opponents this season, but some sort of irresistible force a force bound and determined to ensure a winless season.

Going into the last four games, it appeared as if a winless season was in order for the Lady 'Dogs. After a 13-1 route at the hands of Palisade on April 26, the girls went on to drop their next two games against Battle Mountain and Rifle.

"The last three losses we had were all from mental breakdowns, the girls were playing in their reactive mode," Johnson said. "They lacked intensity, and suffered the consequences."

Lack of conference wins will keep the Lady 'Dogs from attending the district tournament this year. One team is prevented from going to districts each year by its season record, and this year, the MCHS soccer team was at the bottom of the totem pole.

Steamboat Springs took the Western Slope Conference championship, followed by Glenwood Springs in second place.

The end of the season means the loss of Moffat County's core its defense.

Jen Havrilla and Stacy Ponikvar, the team's defensive stand-outs, both graduate this spring along with defenseman Rachel Stacy, and offensive players Tiffany Silva, Ellgen and Shonts.

While the loss of six seniors may sound like a blow to the team, it will actualize what Johnson has been working for all season, a young team with experience.

"We've tried to work our younger girls in all season so they're ready to go when it's their turn on varsity," he said. "This is where not having a freshman team comes in handy. While other teams are playing their young girls in lower-level games, ours are getting varsity experience."

The team's strength will shift from the defensive positions to the mid-field next year, as the Lady 'Dogs will be led by three seniors.

Katie Telfer, Brandy Sherwood and Melissa Padon are expected to become the team's leaders, and pilot the Lady Bulldogs mid-field play.

Along with mid-field strength, the team will see increased emphasis on offense, where many of the younger girls play.

"I expect great things from the girls coming up," Johnson said. "We have real potential in the girls we've been grooming they just need to be able to get past the mental hurdle, and play every game aggressive."

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