CNCC soccer teams fight through series with Snow College | CraigDailyPress.com

CNCC soccer teams fight through series with Snow College

Spartan players fall to Badgers, continue to gain experience

The weekend warriors of Colorado Northwestern Community CollegeColorado Northwestern Community College soccer had another trying set of home games, though things continue to be looking up for the program overall. soccer had another trying set of home games, though things continue to be looking up for the program overall.

Colorado Northwestern Community College soccer had another trying set of home games, though things continue to be looking up for the program overall.

Men's and women's soccer fell to the Badgers of Snow College in two games apiece Friday and Saturday.

The ladies brought back one of their roster as Allie Ehlers was back on the field after being uncertain to return from a preseason injury, though the women of Snow blew past them both days, 12-0 Friday and 16-0 Saturday as a tenacious scoring drive was more than Lady Spartans could handle.

Bethanie Najera said the home games have provided a learning curve that's been difficult to adjust to but also an impetus to keep getting better.

"We've had two strong teams right out of the gate, and that helped us put into perspective what we're going to have to deal with for the rest of the season, but now that we've got a few games under our belt, we'll be better off," she said. "Allie really stepped up and helped us, that made a big difference."

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The men kept the total closer, with Jesus Cazares scoring the first goal ever in CNCC soccer Friday with a well-placed header that found net. The Badgers retaliated immediately and took advantage of a lapse in the Spartan defense to tie up the score, leaving it 1-all at halftime.

The men were able to shake it off and focus on the prospect of achieving their first win, but Snow had different ideas, slowly but surely wearing them down until the final was 3-1 in the Badgers' favor.

On Saturday, Cazares was again responsible for getting CNCC on the board with a strong cross that bounced right into the Snow goal in the first half, Badgers leading 3-1 by the intermission.

In what wound up being a 5-1 loss, goalie Edgar Martinez continued to stay on alert providing valuable saves, though the Spartan goal was also defended well by Miguel "Ernie" Cruz as he deflected Badger shots on the rare occasion Martinez found himself outside the box.

"You have to protect that goal," Cruz said. "We're gonna pull through, get better from here."

Snow's larger program — both benches have nearly twice the athletes of CNCC — was a factor, head coach Lance Noble said, as was the physical demand of back-to-back game days.

"By the end of the Friday game, they're pretty much spent, and then they still have to come up with something on Saturday, you can't ask much more than that," he said.

However, that's something the Spartans will need to overcome as they prepare to hit the road. Next weekend takes them to College of Southern Nevada in Henderson, Nevada, for another series of four games followed by a break week, then back on the road to meet Utah State University Eastern for yet another doubleheader.

"We're of the infinite perspective that we have to look at what we have, what other teams have and what we're competing against," Noble said.

For Noble, a different sort of goal was on his mind Friday, with his girlfriend, Claudia Deramo, in the stands. Between the women's and men's games, players for both CNCC squads lined up in front of the bleachers and each handed Deramo a flower as she walked by them. By the time she got to the end of the gauntlet of people holding a full bouquet, Noble was there down on one knee with a ring in hand.

"I was just coming to visit, I had no idea he was going to do this," she laughed after accepting the proposal.

A Saturday tailgate party also kept spirits up with a free barbecue lunch.

CNCC President Ronald Granger is as new to college as the first-year soccer program, and after getting a first look at the first sport for the Craig campus, he said he likes where it's going.

"For any small college, athletics is so important," he said. "It just adds to the complete college experience for our students."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.