Amanda Brewer, left, a Moffat County High School senior, tries to defend MCHS junior Erika Quenonis during practice March 15 at Woodbury Sports Complex.  The MCHS girls varsity soccer team returns 33 players this year, and will be led by the team’s six seniors.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Amanda Brewer, left, a Moffat County High School senior, tries to defend MCHS junior Erika Quenonis during practice March 15 at Woodbury Sports Complex. The MCHS girls varsity soccer team returns 33 players this year, and will be led by the team’s six seniors.

MCHS girls soccer coach Harry Tripp hopes to lead his team to the playoffs

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Harry Tripp, middle, the Moffat County High School girls varsity soccer coach, talks to his team March 15 at Woodbury Sports Complex. Tripp is entering his second season as head coach and said he hopes to improve on last year’s school record five wins.

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Kelly Ciesco, a Moffat County High School junior, dribbles in front of a defender during a recent soccer team practice. Ciesco was a 2010 all-conference honorable mention last season for the MCHS girls.

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Harry Tripp

BULLDOGS AT A GLANCE:

Coach: Harry Tripp

Returning seniors: 6

2010 record: 5-10 overall, 4-9 Western Slope League

By the numbers:

• 33 — number of returning players from last year’s varsity and junior varsity teams

• 5 — number of wins the MCHS girls varsity soccer team had last year, tied for the school record for most wins in a season

• 2 — This season is Harry Tripp’s second as head coach of the MCHS girls varsity soccer team.

SCHEDULES:

Moffat County High School girls varsity soccer team’s remaining schedule:

Date Place Opponent

March 25 Home Grand Valley

March 26 Home Battle Mountain

March 29 Home Eagle Valley

April 1 Home Delta High

April 12 Away Palisade High

April 16 Home Glenwood

April 21 Away Rifle

April 23 Home Palisade High

April 26 Home Steamboat

May 2 Home Junction Central

May 6 Away Battle Mountain

Moffat County High School girls junior varsity soccer team’s remaining schedule:

Date Place Opponent

March 25 Home Grand Valley

March 26 Home Battle Mountain

March 29 Home Eagle Valley

April 1 Home Delta High

April 12 Away Palisade High

April 16 Home Glenwood

April 21 Away Rifle

April 23 Home Palisade High

April 26 Home Steamboat

May 2 Home Junction Central

May 6 Away Battle Mountain

In his second season as Moffat County High School girls varsity soccer coach, Harry Tripp is hoping to use what he learned as a rookie to improve this year’s team.

The Bulldogs went 5-10 in Tripp’s inaugural season, tied for the school record for most wins in a season.

“I think I learned about all the other schools (in the Western Slope League) last season,” Tripp said. “I learned the style of play at the different schools and hopefully that will be an advantage this year.”

Before becoming head coach last year, Tripp coached traveling soccer teams for eight years.

In the early season, Tripp said he’s had his players work on the basics of the sport.

“We have really worked on nothing but drills and footwork,” he said. “I’ve helped them with cuts, plant foots and ball work, as well as getting in better physical shape for the season.”

The Bulldogs graduated five seniors from last year’s team, but returned all 33 players from the varsity and junior varsity squads this season.

After making cuts in the second week of practice, the team is now comprised of 35 girls — 17 on the varsity and 18 on the junior varsity.

Tripp said six seniors will lead his team this season. One of those seniors, Justine Hathhorn, has shown tremendous improvement, the coach said.

“Our team does a lot of community service, fundraising and weight training in the offseason and Justine has been there for everything,” he said. “She has worked on her footwork and is at least 10 times better this year.

“If I would have had her for all four years, she would be our Tracy Mendoza of the boys team.”

Hathhorn, who started last year as a junior, said she feels she has made great strides as a player at MCHS.

“I played a little when I was in fourth grade, but my junior year was really my first year playing soccer,” she said. “I feel this year, I know what to do better and I am starting to come around.

Before the season started, Hathhorn said she had a goal for her team and herself.

“For the team, I think we all really want to make the playoffs,” she said. “Personally, I just want to improve and do better than I did last year.”

Tripp said one of his team’s strong points this season would be communication.

“Everyone is looking strong and the girls have really come together as a team,” he said. “They are talking and passing really nice and working as one.”

Hathhorn said the Bulldogs have more of a bond heading into this season.

“All of us are pretty confident because a majority of us got some playing time in the indoor league,” she said. “Since we all know each other better this year, I think it will show in how we play.”

Another big contributor this season, Tripp said, will be junior Kelly Ciesco, a 2010 all-conference honorable mention.

“I know Kelly worked in the offseason on the weights and on the indoor traveling team we had,” he said. “Her dedication has paid off in passing and shooting and I think she will be a leader this year.”

Looking at the schedule, Tripp said the biggest games this year are against WSL rival Steamboat Springs.

The Bulldogs will host Steamboat at 4 p.m. April 26.

“Steamboat has always been a thorn in our side and I know the girls really want to beat them,” Tripp said. “We always get blown out by them or play a close game, but we can never close out.

“We are going to take it to Steamboat this season and they will see a whole new team from us.”

After last season ended, Tripp said his hopes for the 2011 season would be to make the playoffs, and with the season already underway, he said his goal hasn’t changed.

“We practice hard and practice like it is a game all the time,” he said. “Last year, we were a second-half team always playing from behind, but this year we want to be a first-half team and take the wind out of our opponent’s sails early.”

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