Bears pull out a heartbreaker

Rifle scores in injury time to beat Bulldogs, 2-1

Injuries hurt the Moffat County girls soccer team in ways a hot tub can't heal.

The Bulldogs had four players leave the game in the second half because of injuries. That added on 3 minutes, 35 seconds of injury time to the end of the 40 minutes of regulation play.

Rifle scored the winning goal during that extra time for a 2-1 win.

The loss was a heartbreaker for the Bulldogs, who had just come off back-to-back wins.

"Our girls played so hard," coach Jim Loughran said. "I think some of those injuries were because they put so much into the game."

The one-goal game was the fourth time in three years the Bears beat the Bulldogs by one goal.

"We've had a lot of close ones," Rifle coach Tom Taucher said. "Fortunately, we've come out ahead in most of them."

Both coaches agreed that Moffat County was the agg--ressor most of the game. The difference was Rifle's ability to find the net off of set plays.

"We struggled stopping them on corner kicks," Lough--ran said. "All three goals they scored on us this season were from corner kicks."

The first goal came 10 minutes into the first half, when Rifle's Mindy Gonzales controlled a loose ball off of a corner kick and found the goal.

During the rest of the half, Moffat was on the offensive, out-shooting the Bears, 9-1. The combination of good goalkeeping by Kadie LaRocque, passes that were off and errant kicks kept the Bulldogs from scoring.

During the first 20 minutes of the second half, the shots were even. LaRocque and Moffat goalie, junior Heather Brown, made lunging saves.

Twenty-two minutes into the half, Moffat junior Shaylyn Kawcak was taken down in the goalie box and a penalty kick was awarded.

Bulldog junior Vicki Quezada put her first career penalty kick to the left of a diving LaRocque to tie the game at 1.

"I thought we had it after that," Quezada said. "Rifle's a good team, and they came back."

One minute into the extra time, Rifle's Jessica Widmer corralled a loose ball at the top of the goalie box and kicked just out of the reach of Brown.

"It's good to have a midfielder contribute," Taucher said. "We have had a lot of contributions from a variety this year."

Other than spreading the contributions around, Taucher wasn't pleased with his team's effort.

"This was maybe the flattest game we played all year," he said. "After coming off of our best game (a 4-2 loss to Battle Mountain), we weren't very energetic."

Loughran said his team was out of sync because of the loss of senior Jenna Cook to injury in the first half.

"We didn't have the balance we normally would with Jenna in there," he said. "We had our chances, but we were just off."

Both teams have one game left in the season. The Bears, 8-4-1 in league play, take on Steamboat Springs on Thursday. The Bulldogs, 5-8-0 in league play, face Glenwood Springs on Thursday.

The Demons pulled off one of the biggest upsets in WSL history Tuesday, defeating Steamboat Springs, 3-2. In four years, the Sailors' record in the WSL was 50-0-1 before Tuesday's loss.

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