The last two years of soccer match-ups between Glenwood Springs and Moffat County have been rough. Both games saw players from each team getting caught up in an emotional outpour that led to an un-sportsman-like finish.
It is the hope of both Jeff Hammond, Moffat County's coach, and Craig Plizga, Glen-
wood's coach, that this year's game, to be played today, will be different.
"What I really want this year is sportsmanship," Plizga said. "And quiet mouths."
The last meeting between the two was a physical battle, with Glenwood coming out victorious. Hammond hopes his team can still play physical, but keep themselves and their emotions in check.
"We've played each other hard in the past," Hammond said. "A lot of what we've been working on this week is the psychological and mental aspect of the game."
Hammond said the Demons use the mental aspect to their advantage by talking and doing little things such as running through the legs of players after a play.
"We've been working on control," Hammond said. "Not just our bodies but our feet and not getting caught up in the other things."
The Demons are 1-1-0 coming into today's game, while Moffat County is 0-1-1.
The most recent loss for Glenwood came against Fruita, a 3-1 decision that Plizga was happy with.
"They outplayed us," Plizga said. "They are a very strong team."
Fruita was the season opener for the Bulldogs, a game that ended in a 6-0 shutout of Moffat County.
Hammond has seen steady improvement in his team from game one to game two, but this game will be a physical test nonetheless.
"Historically, Glenwood has been physical," Hammond said. "I'm not worried about things getting out of hand."
Hammond said he wants his team to leave everything out on the field, giving 100 percent and having no regrets.
The Bulldogs have their work cut out for them. It will be the league opener for both teams, and Glenwood has a strong core of returning players, including 10 seniors, who are quick and have a wealth of experience to draw from.
Both teams are a little shaky in goal, with new keepers in each net. Bulldog Mike Lefler took over this year after losing Malcolm Hillewaert to graduation.
"Mike is doing well," Ham-
mond said. "When he has a clear view of the ball, he's able to make saves."
Hammond thinks the winner of today's game will be determined by who controls the mid-field play. And with the way the Western Slope is shaping up, anything can happen.
"This league is tough. Period," Hammond said. "This year, the teams that were on the bottom of the league last year are now on the top. It's up in the air right now."
With the negative blood between the two teams, Hammond and Plizga are hoping for a clean, well-played soccer game.
"We're looking forward to it," Hammond said. "That's why we play the game."
Game time is set for 11 a.m. at Loudy-Simpson Park.