Moffat County can't climb over Battle Mountain

Bulldogs ride Lopez hat trick to victory Friday

Down 2-0 to visiting Palisade High School, the Moffat County soccer team battled back, claiming a 4-3 victory Friday.

Trailing, Moffat County scored 28 minutes into the contest on Armando Lopez's first goal of the evening. Oscar Ramos contributed six minutes later, pulling the Bulldogs even at two goals apeice.

Ian Forgay fed Lopez on his second goal four minutes before halftime, giving Moffat County its first lead of the game.

Palisade tied the game shortly after the break.

But then Lopez struck again, completing the hat trick in the 60th minute.

From there, the Moffat County defense held on for the victory.

The Bulldogs moved Lopez to forward before the Rifle game - Sept. 13 - and he has scored seven goals since.

— One day after defeating Palisade 4-3 on Friday, the Moffat County High School soccer team was faced with a tall task, trying to beat defending 4A state champion, Battle Mountain.

The Huskies visited the Bulldogs Saturday, providing a tough matchup for a Moffat County team still tired and sore from the night before.

Moffat County took an early 1-0 lead on the Huskies, but eventually fell short, losing 3-2.

"We were flat and tired from the Palisade match, but that's not really a good excuse," coach Seth Young said. "We fought hard. I just wish the kids were more fresh coming in."

The Bulldogs (2-5 overall, 2-3 Western Slope League) took the lead 11 minutes into the contest when freshman Tracy Mendoza set up junior Armando Lopez, who deposited a blast from his right foot into the Huskies goal.

"Tracy set me up perfectly," Lopez said. "He found me streaking down the sideline, and I did what I do best - shoot."

The lead didn't last long.

Battle Mountain (7-0, 6-0 WSL) answered two minutes later, when Marco Escobar fed Jair Molina, who tied the game at one.

Molina returned the favor 12 minutes later, feeding his compatriot Escobar, who pushed a shot past Bulldog goalie Victor Villa for a 2-1 lead at the half.

"We expected Moffat County to be competitive," Huskies coach Dave Cope said. "We had no illusions that we could just come in here and walk over them."

The Bulldogs had the same idea.

Moffat County controlled the pace of play coming out of the half, tying the match five minutes in, on another Mendoza goal.

Battle Mountain answered.

The Huskies pulled away after Ricardo Luevanos scored.

The Bulldogs fought back, but the play of the Huskies was too much.

"We found out today that we can play with anybody," Young said. "This team is making vast improvements every game."

The Bulldogs have matched last year's win total, with more than half the season left to play.

"We want to make the playoffs." Mendoza said. "That's our goal."

Young agreed.

"These kids have gotten a taste of winning," he said. "They can do it. It's playoffs or bust."

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

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