Bulldogs soccer lets lead slip

Varsity boys team falls to Grand Junction after leading for 16 minutes

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Hans Hallgren/Daily Press

Tracy Mendoza of Moffat County High School drives past Lexter Rodriguez of Grand Junction to score during the first half. Despite the early lead, the Bulldogs lost, 3-1.

— Sixteen minutes.

That's the amount of time the Moffat County boys varsity soccer team has led over the competition this season.

And they did that Thursday, but despite the lead, the Bulldogs eventually fell to Grand Junction High School, 3-1.

"Our first half was phenomenal," head coach Seth Young said. "The second, well, not so much."

Freshman Tracy Mendoza put the Bulldogs ahead, 1-0, 23 minutes into the first half, scoring his first goal of the season.

"I only had one guy to beat," Mendoza said. "And when I did, I knew I could score."

The lead didn't last long.

One minute remained before halftime, and that's when things started to fall apart for the Bulldogs.

The Tigers scored on a penalty kick with one minute remaining before halftime, stripping the momentum away from Moffat County.

"We beat them up for most of the first half," Young said. "Too bad this game is played in two halves."

The Bulldogs were out-shot by Grand Junction, 14-12, and Young was pleased with the offensive performance.

"The offense is picking up," he said. "It's the mental part of the game that they need to work on."

The second half was a horse of a different color. The Tig-ers scored 17 minutes in, and the Bulldogs began to shut down.

"You could see them with their heads down after that goal," Young said. "They lost their focus after that."

The Tigers kept on the pressure, putting the match away 19 minutes later after scoring the goal, which accounted for the final margin of victory.

"The kids have got to learn how to not let things get into their head," Young said. "They get too focused on the other team and the referees, when what they need to concentrate on is their own performance.

"When they focus and play as a team, they will succeed."

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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