Craig The Moffat County High School girls soccer team got more than it bargained for Thursday in a key home game but walked away with a needed win.
The Bulldogs took on Colorado Rocky Mountain School, a team without a win and only one goal scored this season entering Thursday’s contest, but the Oysters didn’t play like it and nearly left Craig with a victory. With some late-game heroics, though, the Bulldogs snapped their three-game losing streak with a 5-4 win.
The game started well for Moffat County, which scored 2 1/2 minutes after the opening kick when Katia Voloshin dribbled from wide into the box and found Jazmine Swindler on a pass across the goal, which Swindler finished for a 1-0 score. The Bulldogs then controlled the game much of the rest of the half but couldn’t score on several good chances.
That came back to bite them when Maddie Cantu, of CRMS, took a Moffat County defensive clearance all alone and took a shot. The short hop beat keeper Delaney Baker and tied the game.
“I think our girls came out cocky, like they were supposed to win,” Bulldogs coach Harry Tripp said. “So we weren’t sharp, we weren’t communicating, and we were butting heads.”
The score remained 1-1 at halftime and CRMS struck first in the second half. Right after the opening kick, Moffat gave up a free kick deep in its own zone and Cantu booted it off a teammate and the ball deflected into the opposite corner of the goal.
Eventually Moffat County’s offensive pressure paid off, however, as Chandra Warren found Swindler on a long pass forward and Swindler pushed it across the box to Brittany Walker, who scored. Later, defender Morgan Lawton picked up her first goal of the season as the ball came out to her, and she kicked it over everyone’s head from just outside the 18-yard box.
“You saw our girls dig deep there, that’s why we took a 4-2 lead,” Tripp said.
But the Oysters would come back. Alex Hamilton switched into goal in the second half for Moffat County and was whistled for holding the ball too long after picking it up. It gave the Oysters another free kick, which Katie Grant curved into the net.
Then, with just less than four minutes left, CRMS scored again as the ball found its way inside the 6-yard box and the shot got through Hamilton’s hands.
Short on time and in need of a victory, though, the Bulldogs came through. Baker dribbled through several defenders and put a shot off the crossbar. Swindler was waiting on the rebound, which she put away for the game-winner.
It wasn’t the way the Bulldogs expected to win, but they got the result anyway in a crazy second half. The two teams will play again Saturday in Carbondale.
“I hope this is an eye-opener for us,” Tripp said. “I asked them afterward if they wanted to make the playoffs, and they all said, 'Absolutely.' It starts here.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.