CNCC soccer comes out of Wyoming tourney wiser, ready for conference play | CraigDailyPress.com

CNCC soccer comes out of Wyoming tourney wiser, ready for conference play

Colorado Northwestern Community College women's soccer players come off the field in high spirits following a game with Western Wyoming.
Andy Bockelman

The first road games of the fall are in the books for Colorado Northwestern Community College soccer teams, and now the Spartans are looking toward to a recuperation period before the task of conference play.

The Western Wyoming Community College tournament in Rock Springs, Wyoming went by faster than CNCC teams expected, with each squad only playing one true game.

CNCC men took a 2-0 defeat to Riverton’s Central Wyoming College Friday night, in a match coach Doug Seigle said was impacted by early slip-ups.

“We were the better team but couldn’t score,” he said. “Our mistakes cost us two goals in the first half, and the other team went into a defensive shell.”

Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Orlando Garcia bounces the ball off his chest while on the attack against Western Wyoming Aug. 24 in Craig. CNCC men fell 2-0 to Central Wyoming College during Western Wyoming’s weekend tournament in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Andy Bockelman

The men were scheduled to face off with Mozier FC Saturday morning, though the opponents canceled. Instead, Spartans had a casual game with Western Wyoming alumni, which they dominated.

“Since it was a scrimmage, I got a chance to play everyone,” Seigle said.

For the CNCC women’s team, the weekend held bright spots with their first goal of the season, scored by Tristan Gutierrez on a rebound off the CWC goalie.

Women’s coach Kyle Kazemi said a drive down the side by Meri Sandy kicked off the process.

“It snuck under the diving goalkeeper and bobbled around in the goal area for a little bit,” he said. “Kenia Lara had a swing at it, and one of their defenders was on it, but it just kept dribbling and Tristan was ready to pounce on it and banged it in.”

Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Tristan Gutierrez catches her breath before a Western Wyoming corner kick Aug. 24. Gutierrez scored the Spartan women’s team first goal of the season against Central Wyoming College.
Andy Bockelman

Ultimately, the Spartans took a 3-1 defeat, though Kazemi is more than happy with the results.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “It felt pretty balanced, but their athleticism probably outstripped us player for player. Their speed and strength made it difficult, but it was a great match-up for both sides and fans seemed to have a great time.”

After their preseason — including home games Aug. 24 with Western Wyoming that saw a 1-0 win for men and a 7-0 loss for women — CNCC athletes will have a good stretch to rest and prepare before they meet Scenic West Athletic Conference foes from here.

“This time will give us a chance to breathe and recover physically,” Kazemi said. “We’ve got a thin roster and all kinds of athletes are banged up, justifiably so, since they’ve given a lot of effort to the college.”

The first event with a fellow SWAC team is Sept. 12 in Reno, Nevada against Truckee Meadows Community College. The road trip will also include Sept. 14 games at Utah’s Salt Lake Community College on the way back to Craig.

Spartans will also meet a non-conference school, Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Sept. 18 before hosting Utah State University Eastern Sept. 21 at Loudy-Simpson Park.

Kazemi added that coaches are emphasizing the need for players to stay on the ball academically before the season really gets hectic.

“This period will let them get a handle on their courses and sort out the student-athlete balance,” he said. “This gap is such a gift, because games come thick and fast once they start, and you don’t have a lot of time to exhale. If you start behind in your courses, you don’t have much time to catch up, so this will give them some footing.”