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Baptism by getting fired upon

Second-year MCHS goalie hopes to be less busy this season

David Pressgrove

— Mike Lefler doesn’t want the ball.

It’s not a common thought in sports, but Moffat County High School’s second-year varsity goalie is an exception.

“It would definitely be nice to be less busy this year,” the senior said. “I think our offense will be better and our defense will not be the focus as much.”

Last year’s soccer team went through some struggles. The Bulldogs finished 2-12-1. They were outscored, 66-15, during the season, which averages 4.4 goals a game. In six of their 12 losses the Bulldogs gave up more than five goals.

Needless to say, Lefler saw a lot of shots, more than 300 to be precise.

“I had a lot of opportunities to learn and improve,” he said. “I guess that’s one good thing.”

At least he’s optimistic.

When it comes to baptism by getting fired on, Lefler is in good company. Moffat County’s last two varsity goalies, Malcolm Hillewaert and Brandon Duarte, had a season of seasoning before becoming dominant – and college scholarship-worthy – goalies.

“I haven’t really thought about those guys,” Lefler said. “But I guess we have to learn the hard way when we are goalies.”

The keeper said he didn’t do a lot during the summer to improve other than, “messing around with my friends every once in a while,” but he knows what he needs to work on before the first game Aug. 30 at Fruita-Monument.

“I have to work on giving up rebounds,” he said. “That’s what cost me a lot last year.”

New head coach Seth Young didn’t see Lefler in goal last year, but he said he likes what he has seen so far.

“He’s tough and fearless,” Young said. “What I’m hopeful for is that he doesn’t get challenged as much.”

Senior sweeper Tucker Bilodeau anchored the defense last year. He said that an improved offense should keep the pressure off his defense and his goalie.

“Our offense will be better at keeping possession this year,” he said. “I also think our defense will improve to keep the shots down.”

With the help of Bilodeau and company, Lefler said he expects to see his team win more, but icing on the cake would be his first shutout on varsity.

“It would be really nice to see a team not score,” he said. “But wins are more important to us right now.”


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