Standing in the goal of the soccer field Saturday afternoon at Loudy-Simpson Park, Moffat County High School goaltender Dustin Carlson had just one thing on his mind.
And, though he didn’t quite obtain his objective, it wasn’t for lack of trying, as he and his teammates heightened their defenses against their latest opponent.
The MCHS varsity soccer team (8-2 overall, 4-2 Western Slope League) defeated the Glenwood Springs Demons (4-6-1, 1-4-1), 3-1, in their weekend game, a match that, by the end, got quite physical.
The game started slowly, as the Bulldogs and Demons sized each other up, neither team allowing their adversary to handle the ball for too long or get in scoring position.
But, before long, both goalies had their work cut out for them, as the offenses swarmed the nets.
Carlson, an MCHS senior, responded to the maneuvers by moving out of the goal and scooping up the ball whenever it came near him. His persistence in staying on top of the ball spread to the rest of the team, as senior Tracy Mendoza put the first point on the board about 20 minutes into the half.
Senior Eli Voyich also was on the attack, narrowly missing an almost certain goal because of a diving save on Glenwood goalie Caine Albrecht’s part.
“It all just went so fast,” Voyich said. “That was a really good save.”
Mendoza countered the goalie’s approach for his second goal, a high-arcing shot over the keeper’s head, neatly sailing into the net.
Leading 3-0 at halftime, the Bulldogs were reminded by coach Rusty Cox to stay focused.
“My team got in trouble in our last game because they got too relaxed,” Cox said.
The Bulldogs’ last game was a 5-4 loss at Eagle Valley (3-5-1, 2-3), a team they beat 12-4 at home.
All of the Bulldogs’ home games have resulted in victory this season.
“On the road, we just get too relaxed and groggy, and we’re not as good as we are here,” Carlson.
Carlson and the rest of the team had to stay on their toes for the second half, as the Demons upped their aggression. Players on both teams were getting knocked to the ground repeatedly as they fought over possession of the ball.
But, the Bulldog defense did not relent as Glenwood continued their assault on the goal, with Carlson getting his hands on everything from well-placed free kicks to point blank shots.
“It’s a good thing I’m quick,” he said.
Carlson said he fielded about 25 shots on goal, letting in one with less than 15 minutes to go in the game.
“I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get the shutout,” he said. “I really want to get one this season.”
Carlson said he thought the rest of the team played “pretty great” even with the Demons providing a fierce attack.
Cox wasn’t as impressed with Glenwood’s determination to keep the ball.
“That’s nothing,” he said. “Just wait until Battle Mountain gets here.”
The Bulldogs play Thursday afternoon against Battle Mountain (7-2, 5-1), the first team to beat them this season.
However, Glenwood was the first team of the season to beat Battle Mountain.
“This was a good game,” Cox said. “Glenwood’s a tough team.”
Cox said he would have liked to finish with a shutout, but it was not something he expected.
“You can never anticipate those,” he said. “Especially in such a tough league.”