With a nucleus of talent returning, the Moffat County girls soccer team is planning on making a return trip to the playoffs.
In its first year in Class 3A, the team set a record for wins and made the first ever girls soccer trip to the postseason in 2013. Now, the Bulldogs want to keep the program climbing, but they have some challenges facing them this season.
Moffat County girls soccer schedule
March 22 vs. Vail Mountain at Woodbury 11 a.m.
March 28 vs. Rangely at Woodbury 4 p.m.
April 8 vs. Grand Valley at Woodbury 4 p.m.
April 11 at Grand Valley in Parachute 4 p.m.
April 12 at Coal Ridge in New Castle 11 a.m.
April 15 vs. Rifle at Woodbury 4 p.m.
April 17 vs. Colorado Rocky Mountain at Woodbury 4 p.m.
April 19 at Colorado Rocky Mountain in Carbondale 11 a.m.
April 22 vs. Roaring Fork at Woodbury 4 p.m.
April 24 vs. Aspen at Woodbury 4 p.m.
April 29 at Rangely 4 p.m.
May 1 at Vail Christian 4 p.m.
May 2 at Grand Junction Central 3 p.m.
Perhaps largest among them will be replacing Skylar Tripp, Moffat County’s rock in goal for the previous four seasons. Of all the seniors the Bulldogs lost to graduation, Tripp’s absence may be the most notable because of the complexity in learning the ins and outs of the goalie position.
“It’s a hard position to learn,” coach Harry Tripp said about playing keeper. “Skylar had been doing it since she was nine and Hannah (Walker) just picked it up last year. But she’s done well right away.”
Walker, a sophomore, played keeper on the junior varsity last year and has stepped in for the Bulldogs on the big stage this season. Against a potent Coal Ridge offense in the first game of the season, Walker allowed just three goals on more than 30 shots, an excellent ratio for a keeper.
Walker’s teammates have taken notice, too. Allie Ehlers, one of the Bulldogs’ leaders in the midfield, has seen encouraging signs from the sophomore.
“I’m so used to Skylar, I knew what I was going to get from her and how she was going to do it,” Ehlers said. “But Hannah has really stepped it up. She’s shown a lot so far.”
The Bulldogs have started the season 0-2 and will look to get in the win column in a home game vs. Vail Mountain today. Despite the rough first week, Moffat County is not worried about it’s outlook for the season because today's game will be the first with the entire team available coming off their winter sports.
“We just need our whole team back,” Ehlers said. “The JV girls we’ve needed to use have played well, but it makes a difference" having the full roster.
In practice this week, the Bulldogs were focusing on their play in the offensive third of the field, getting effective crosses off and putting shots in the goal.
“We need to get more shots and crosses,” Tripp said. “We’ve been working on a lot of crosses, give-and-gos, that stuff. It’s starting to get there. It’s looking better.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.