Gypsum It's hard to believe that the same Eagle Valley and Moffat County soccer teams that took to the pitch Saturday in Gypsum were the ones that faced off in Craig earlier in the season.
How much can really change in less than a month that produces a 10-goal swing?
After beating the Devils, 3-2, a few weeks ago, the Bulldogs came out Saturday and fell 9-0 to Eagle Valley.
"We've made some changes, and they keep working out for us," Eagle Valley coach Jason Rittmiller said. "It paid off for us today."
Along with changes in their style of play, the Devils also came out with a different attitude.
"When we lost, 3-2, we psyched ourselves out because we were confident from last year (against Moffat)," Eagle Valley's Gonzalo Gomez said. "When we went in there, none of us were focused. They just kind of took it from us. (Saturday), we played like we played against Rifle" in a 4-0 win Tuesday.
Combine the new-looking Devils with the young-looking Bulldogs, and the goal differential isn't that hard to fathom after all.
"We started five freshman," Moffat coach Seth Young said. "Six of our regular starters are down. I have two guys out on red cards, two out for grades, one out with an injury and one out on injury from the beginning of the year. Our starting sweeper was out, and when you have a guy back there who doesn't play that position, it's tough."
Eagle Valley didn't make it any easier on the Bulldogs, moving the ball well and shooting with precision.
"In the first half, I let them play their game, and that's what they did," Rittmiller said.
Only six minutes into the contest, Eagle Valley held a 2-0 advantage, thanks to a pair of goals by Cesar Castillo, who picked up his third tally in the 21st minute and would finish the game in net, replacing starter Trevor Grayson.
Along with Castillo, Eagle Valley's David Shea also netted a hat trick, while Gomez had a goal and three assists.
After taking a 5-0 lead into the break, Eagle Valley made several substitutions but kept the pressure on Moffat.
"I told them at halftime, we were doing good things, and I want to keep it up in the second half technically. I wanted to keep playing a very sound game," Rittmiller said.
Only nine minutes into the second half, the Devils tacked on three more goals and had to go down one player due to the mercy rule. After their final goal - a strike by Chad Strakbein that caught the Moffat goalie out of position - the Devils went down to nine players and were able to hold on for the shutout.
Although Grayson was perfect when he needed to be, Eagle Valley defender Adrian Aguilar had a terrific day, robbing the Moffat forwards of several looks on net. Not only did Aguilar steal the ball, but he deftly moved through the Moffat players in close proximity to the Eagle Valley box and then made perfect outlet passes. Aguilar even had a point-blank save off a skirmish in front following a Moffat corner kick.
"I was pretty hyper back there," Aguilar said. "We were all supporting each other, doing well. (My forwards) are always on the sides, and I'm always looking for them."
Even with the nine-goal cushion, the Devils kept working the ball with passes and put some starters in not-so-familiar positions. Grayson moved up to forward, while an array of midfielders got their share of time up front, too.
Eagle Valley could have broken into the double digits had it not been for Moffat defender Spencer Wayman who made two saves after Eagle Valley forwards beat the Moffat keeper.
The Bulldogs saw good ball movement from their young forwards.
"I'm pleased with the way our freshman played up front," Young said. "They did some good stuff with the ball."