'Dogs turned road warriors

Soccer team set for five-game road series

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It's only been a week since the Bulldog soccer team battled with Eagle Valley, but this time around, it'll be on the Devils' doorstep.

They are headed to Gypsum on Saturday, and head coach Jeff Hammond is expecting a similar match-up.

"We played pretty evenly last time," Hammond said. "They're young and talented."

After a tough loss to rival Steamboat Springs on Tuesday, the Bulldogs are ready to start the second half of their season on the offensive.

"After looking in their eyes last night when they came off the field, they knew they could have and should have done better," Hammond said Wednesday.

The Bulldogs are now 1-5-0 in league play, but Hammond thinks his players are starting to build the confidence they need. With a new formation on the field, many players are looking forward to something different.

"Hopefully, it'll work," sophomore forward Oscar Ramos said. "We've got to try it first, though."

Sticking to a mainly defensive game has been the nemesis of the Bulldogs this season, along with emotional and mental let downs.

"You try so hard on defense and kick it up, but nothing happens," Ramos said about the Bulldogs' offense. "Some guys are getting along, and others are getting frustrated with each other."

A big thing that junior Robbie Herring pointed out is that on the field, players don't communicate with one another.

"We need to talk more," Herring said.

Hammond is excited about the new game plan.

"It lets the guys have something to go on when they're tired or uncomfortable," Ham--mond said. "They need to have a player -- something they can landmark themselves with."

Hammond also said it forces his team to play the angles.

"I think we're better prepared for everyone," Hammond said. "The kids have seen all the players, they know what they're capable of, and now, they're going to step up and have to know what to do."

After Saturday's game in Gypsum, the next road test for the Bulldogs will be Tuesday against powerhouse Glenwood Springs.

The teams faced off Sept. 9 in Craig, with the Demons coming out victorious, 5-1.

"Hopefully, (Glenwood) will underestimate us a little," Herring said.

With that possibility, the Bulldogs could steal a game or two from unsuspecting teams.

They are headed on a five-game road series. First up is Eagle Valley at 11 a.m. Saturday, followed by Glenwood Springs at 4 p.m. Tuesday. They face Rifle on Oct. 7, Steamboat Springs on Oct. 10 and Grand Junction on Oct. 12.

With the gain in confidence the Bulldogs have seen lately, Hammond said things are moving in a positive direction.

"The younger kids are starting to learn from the older guys," Hammond said. "The defense is getting in front of shots. (Goalie) Mike (Lefler) is coming into his own. We're just working on leveling out the peaks and valleys."

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