CNCC soccer to fight final battle at regional tournament | CraigDailyPress.com

CNCC soccer to fight final battle at regional tournament

Spartans lose last home games against Utah State University Eastern

Colorado Northwestern Community College soccer players Jade Brown, Bethanie Najera and Amairani Acosta keep after their opponents from Utah State University Eastern. In their last home games, women fell, 7-0, and men, 3-1, against the Golden Eagles.

The Spartan warriors of "300" faced impossible odds but never quit fighting until the final breath left their battered bodies, and though the stakes weren't life or death Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park, so did their modern-day namesakes continue to fight through the final whistle.

Colorado Northwestern Community CollegeColorado Northwestern Community College women’s and men’s soccer teams completed their regular seasons with dual defeats to the Golden Eagles of Utah State University Eastern. women's and men's soccer teams completed their regular seasons with dual defeats to the Golden Eagles of Utah State University Eastern.

Colorado Northwestern Community College women's and men's soccer teams completed their regular seasons with dual defeats to the Golden Eagles of Utah State University Eastern.

The women's score was 7-0 in USU's favor as the ladies' team "limped along" injuries and all, as head coach Lance Noble put it, a description that was more literal for some than others.

After rolling her ankle the week before, goalie Hannah Walker was iffy on playing again, but she insisted on tending goal up until about the final 10 minutes when coaches forced her to sit, replacing her with Bethanie Najera.

"These girls played really good today, they saved me more than anything," Walker said. "We've come together these last couple games. It's been a good experience."

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For the men, a shaky first half hurt what chances they had of breaking the Spartans' season-long losing streak, but a goal by Miguel "Ernie" Cruz and a better second half kept spirits as the regular season came to a close as the Eagles won, 3-1.

At 0-12, both Spartan squads rank fifth in their respective Scenic West Athletic Conference listings, the season coming to a head this Thursday at the Region 18 Tournament where women are due to play College of Southern Nevada and men Snow College, both the fourth-place teams.

"If men play that playoff game like they did the second half today, we can win that," Noble said.

Raul Lopez and Miguel Rodriguez certainly believe a victory can be achieved.

"We've become way more of a team now than when we started, which is good for the numbers we have," Rodriguez said.

The caliber of effort has improved as the season has progressed, Lopez added.

"We're definitely playing better soccer than we were a month ago," he said.

The first year of Spartan soccer has been a difficult one, but with their foot now in the door and greater recruiting initiatives in the works, the sophomore season stands to be wholly different.

"We're very excited for next year," Noble said.

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.