It's not that the Moffat County Bulldog soccer team is bad, it's that every team it has faced thus far in the 2006 season is really good.
After a loss to senior-stacked Glenwood Springs on Saturday, the Bulldogs have focused on intensity from the get go.
"We need to come out right off the bat with the intensity level we have during the second half," head coach Jeff Hammond said to his team at Wednesday's practice.
Hammond said players have been inconsistent at best, maintaining an intensity level and focus for the games.
"It's our challenge," Hammond said.
Going up against Rifle today, a team that has played even with the Bulldogs during the last few seasons Hammond knows his team can't afford to ease up.
"The last three years, we've either split or had overtime, and it's ended in a one goal victory or a tie," Hammond said.
He knows that Rifle will come out hard against them and undoubtedly will look to score first.
"They've played hard and have scored first in off their games this season," Hammond said.
Hammond wants his team to create scoring opportunities by building on its possessions. During the game against Glenwood Springs, he wasn't happy with what he saw.
"Glenwood didn't give us a whole lot of opportunities in the first half, but we didn't create many, either," Hammond said.
With injures still sidelining some of his players, Hammond has been shuffling around his roster in hopes of finding that magical combination. Newcomer to the team Clark Cleverly has earned a starting spot in Saturday's game.
With the squad members accepting their new roles Hammond thinks they are on the right track for a victory.
"I have one guy who told me, 'Coach, I don't care where you put me as long as it helps the team,'" Hammond said.
Hammond also christened a new captain this week, giving sophomore Armando Lopez the nod. He thinks balancing the duties between the two junior and two sophomore captains will help the team mesh together better.
"I'm going to do what's best for the team," Hammond said. "And I'm going to put the best team on the field."
Hammond also mentioned that because of his decision, there has been an internal drive to compete for a starting spot.
Eagle Valley is another team that the Bulldogs will square off against this weekend, and they are facing a similar youthful situation.
"Historically we've been faster than Eagle Valley," Hammond said. "But they have been bigger."
Eagle Valley is coming off a 3-3 tie with Steamboat Springs and will look to carry that momentum into Saturday's game.
"This year, the league is fairly even," Hammond said. "With the exception of Glenwood."
The Bulldogs will play both games at Loudy Simpson Park, with a 4 p.m. start time today and an 11 a.m. start time Saturday.
Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: Moffat County vs. Rifle/ Moffat County vs. Eagle Valley
When: 4 p.m. today, 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Loudy-Simpson Park