Moffat County High School junior Jonathan Pando noticed a difference in the attitude of his teammates at their Thursday game at Loudy-Simpson Park, one that affected them more and more as the afternoon wore on.
His fellow Bulldogs weren’t communicating on the soccer field like they normally do. And, the result was reflected in the final score.
MCHS boys varsity soccer lost to Battle Mountain High School, 5-3. This was the first loss at home for the Bulldogs, whose overall record is now 8-3 and 4-3 in the Western Slope League, trailing Battle Mountain, now the top Wes-
tern Slope team in the 4A division with a 9-2 (7-1) record.
“We played good and we fought hard,” MCHS coach Rusty Cox said. “Not one of these guys needs to hold their head down.”
The game started in the Bulldogs’ favor, much like their first meeting with Battle Mountain, with sophomore Alex Perez netting an unassisted goal in less than three minutes. The Huskies retaliated, scoring on a free kick about 15 minutes later.
With another home goal sewn up by sophomore Alan Flores, followed by another by Battle Mountain, the two teams finished the half with the score tied, 2-2, ready for more action.
But, as the second half kicked off, the ball remained closer to the Bulldogs’ goal. After another 20 minutes, the Bulldogs found themselves down, 4-2.
Senior Tracy Mendoza said the team missed a lot of opportunities to score whenever they were in Husky territory, though he still found the time to bounce in a header with less then five minutes remaining in the game. However, his goal came after many similar attempts throughout the match.
“It wasn’t my day,” Mendoza said. “We could’ve done better.”
Pando said one of the weak points in the game was the team’s midfield, in addition to a lack of verbal communication.
“We played good, we just didn’t pull together because we weren’t talking as much,” Pando said. “Once you start losing, it hurts, and then it’s like you can’t do anything about it, and you just go into shock.”
Cox said the team’s demeanor once they were down played into the loss.
“Getting frustrated, that’s what hurt us,” he said.
The team’s next game is Saturday in Grand Junction.
“Saturday’s going to be tough because the loss is going to stick in their heads,” Cox said.
“But, we’re going to work through it and pull through, because you can’t keep looking back.”
Mendoza said he intends to put the loss behind him.
“We had some mistakes, but we can learn from them and we can play better next time,” he said.