Bulldogs soccer team nets double overtime win

Overtime has not been good for Moffat County in Jeff Hammond's two years as head coach.

That's bad news when they face Rifle because the Bears and Bulldogs have been synonymous with overtime during those two years. For the third time in four games the two teams went into overtime Saturday.

This time, the Bulldogs broke their six-game winless overtime steak with a 2-1 win.

"Overtime hasn't been pretty for my teams," he said. "But I could see it in their eyes that they wanted it."

He could also see it on the jersey of his son.

Every time Hammond's son, senior defender Schuyler Hammond, incurs an injury that brings blood, as he did in the second half, the Bulldogs are undefeated.

Schuyler started the play that would break his dad's overtime curse. Hammond's free kick from the left side about 30-yards out sailed toward Rifle keeper Justin Harris.

Moffat senior midfielder Nate Berner got to the ball a split second before Harris and knocked it free. The ball bounced to Pepe Loya and he put it in the open net.

Loya, who missed a penalty kick earlier in the game, said the goal helped him get over his first missed PK in five tries this season.

"As the game went on I forgot about it," he said. "But I was really glad to be able to score the winner."

Rifle coach Tom Taucher wasn't happy that the game went into overtime.

"We missed so many of our chances," he said. "Their keeper did a good job but we didn't make it happen when we should have."

Moffat County goalie Malcolm Hillewaert finished the day with 17 saves.

"It was scary toward the end because (Rifle) had too many open guys in front of the goal," he said. "But the defense did just enough."

One Bulldog defender is becoming an offensive weapon as well. Senior Aaron Kawcak has mastered the flip throw-in, which allows him more distance on the throws. He can get a throw in at the goal from nearly any spot past the midfield stripe. Saturday he scored the first goal of his career when his throw-in was kicked back to him and he found the net.

"We worked on that same play in practice," Kawcak said.

The Bulldogs have become dangerous on set plays this year. In their win against Steamboat Springs three goals were off set plays.

"We work those things often in practice," coach Hammond said. "Our guys find ways to make it happen off of those plays."

Rifle took the early lead when Jose Contreras put a cross past Hillewaert in the 15th minute. After that, as Taucher said, the Bears couldn't create off of their chances.

The win increased the gap between the Bulldogs and the Bears in the league standings. Moffat, 5-3, now sits in third behind Glenwood, 7-1, and Battle Mountain, 9-0, with a two-game lead over Rifle, 3-5. The top four teams in the Western Slope League make the playoffs.

"We're in a good spot now," Hammond said. "We still have work to do but our spot in the playoffs is getting closer to being secured."

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