After two hard-fought defeats this week, the Moffat County High School girls varsity soccer team finally got over the hump on Friday.
Playing at home against Eagle Valley High School, the Bulldogs scored late in the first half and again in the second to earn their first Western Slope League victory, 2-0.
“It is like getting the monkey off our back,” head coach Harry Tripp said of the team’s first league win. “It feels really good.”
The Bulldogs (2-6 overall, 1-6 WSL) battled back and forth with the Devils for almost 40 minutes before junior Kelly Ciesco broke the 0-0 tie in the last two minutes of the first half.
“I think my goal was definitely uplifting for the team,” Ciesco said. “I could tell we were starting to hang our heads again, but the goal lifted our spirits.”
Tripp said the first goal was like a wake up call for his team.
“The first goal in any game is a confidence booster for a team,” he said. “We finally started going and playing the way we game planned for.”
The offense was the focus of practice this week, Tripp said, as he wanted his team to get more shots on goal.
Against the Devils (0-10 overall, 0-8 WSL), the Bulldogs had more than 30 shots on goal.
“After the Palisade game, we practiced all week to set up our offense because our defense had been stepping up,” Tripp said. “We worked on Kelly collecting the ball at midfield, turning and reading the defense to see where to pass and what to do.”
Sophomore Kelsie Pomeroy scored the second goal for the Bulldogs on a breakaway in the second half.
Ciesco said the extra work on offense this week helped the team.
“I could tell we were a little tired and exhausted in our third game of the week, but overall, I think we played wonderful,” she said. “Our offense was really aggressive and it was basically a textbook offense.”
For the first 10 minutes of the second half, Eagle Valley looked to tie the game up with an explosive offense out of the break.
Tripp said the Devils did a good job with their cross passes.
“Most teams score goals off of crosses,” he said. “Eagle Valley liked to go to the corner and cross the ball, and our defense wasn’t guarding the backdoor at first. They started talking more and were able not allow a score.”
Friday’s game was the first shutout for the Bulldogs this season.
In the past couple of games, Tripp said his players have started talking more and having “fun.”
“I want the girls to have fun in practice and on the field,” he said. “They are starting to communicate on the field better and having fun allows them to loosen up.”
The Bulldogs will host Glenwood Springs High School today at Woodbury Sports Complex, 350 Mack Lane. It will be the fourth game in less than a week for MCHS.
Glenwood scored early and often on the Bulldogs in the second game of the season, winning, 8-1, at home.
Ciesco said the team has worked harder in practice and will do better this time around.
“We have to stay focused and get rest before the game,” she said. “Our through passing has improved a lot and I think it will help.”
Tripp said Glenwood would see a whole new team today.
“We play really good at home and we like to play here,” he said. “I think they will come out cocky and we will be ready, and if we come out strong, I think it will be a good, close game.”
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