In the Moffat County High School girls soccer team's 3-1 loss against Delta County this season, the Bulldogs looked like a different team than the one that beat Delta 2-0 earlier in the season -- a less aggressive, less dominating team.
Coach Lori Smith could pinpoint exactly why.
"When Jessica (Uecker) got hurt early in the game we didn't have much of a chance," she said. "Our team went how she went this year."
The Western Slope League recognized Uecker's play last week, naming her to the All-League first team, an honor that doesn't come often to a sophomore.
"She had the role of leader forced on her and took it well," Smith said. "I'm hoping we'll get that from other underclassmen next year."
The underclassmen theme continued in the other award given to the Bulldogs. Freshman Ashleigh Mann was named to the league's second team. Mann led the team in goals with seven. She had more than twice as many goals as anybody else on the team. Uecker and senior Stephanie Braselton had three goals each.
"I don't like to make one of our best players run and chase after the ball, but that is what we had to ask Ashleigh to do," Smith said. "At times this year she was our only scoring option."
Uecker and Mann helped the Bulldogs tie the school record in wins with three this year. Smith said that it is encouraging to have a young team with potential, but more work needs to be done.
"We need commitment to become a better team," she said. "The commitment wasn't there during the offseason last year. Hopefully some of the underclassmen can step it up and be leaders to get girls interested and motivated."