Eagle Valley drops MCHS soccer, 5-4
Not this time.
Eagle Valley goalkeeper Jose Serna drew his team’s line in the sand as he was digging the second Moffat County goal out of the back of his net.
It was three-and-a-half minutes into Thursday’s Homecoming soccer game, and the Devils were down 2-0 to a Bulldog team that beat them 12-4 earlier this season.
Not this time.
The Devils came up off the mat — artificial turf in their case — and handed MCHS its second loss of the season, 5-4.
What was the difference between then and now?
“We were talking so much better this time, helping each other, playing the ball better,” Serna said. “We did everything better.”
After two quick MCHS goals, Serna and the Devils defense decided they’d had enough.
“I knew I had to do my job, and I had confidence that the defense and everyone in front of them would do theirs,” Serna said. “When everyone does what they’re supposed to do, and does it together, good things happen.”
When MCHS jumped out 2-0, it looked like the Bulldogs were rolling to a repeat of the 12-4 rout in Craig earlier this season.
Moffat’s Jonathan Pando nailed his team’s first and last goals with essentially the same shot. A pass from the center to him on the right wing found him about 35 yards out in front of the net. On both shots, he teed it up and rifled it into the top right corner.
Moffat’s Alex Perez added the second goal with just 3:36 gone in the first half.
And that’s where Eagle Valley dug in.
The Devils reeled off four straight for a 4-2 lead.
Nestor Escobar got things started with 16:03 gone in the first half. Alexis
Fernandez scored twice and Kevin Escobar once.
Moffat’s Manuel Tarango made it 4-3 on a second half penalty kick, and Pando knotted it at 4-4 with his second long distance lightning strike.
A penalty kick put Eagle Valley on top for good. Kevin Escobar drilled a laser into the top right corner with 9:38 left in the second half.
“This was the most important game of our season so far,” Eagle Valley coach Jason Ritmiller said. “We’re much stronger than we were the last time we played them, and we’re growing stronger all the time.”
So, down 2-0 early there was no, “here-we-go-again” moment?
“No. It was not the same game and we’re not the same team,” Ritmiller said.
“This one was a ‘not-this-time’ moment.
“This win shows our guys that every game we’ve played before doesn’t matter. We have to let go of the way things were. What matters is where we go from here.”
Where they go from here is Steamboat Springs on Saturday for another league showdown. The Devils (3-4-1 overall and 2-2 in the 4A Western Slope League) can control their own playoff destiny, as long as they keep winning, Ritmiller said.
With the loss, MCHS falls to 7-2 on the season, both losses coming on artificial turf fields, which increases the speed of the game.
“This is our last game on turf this season,” MCHS coach Rusty Cox said. “When we’re aggressive, we usually control the pace of the game. We weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be. We sat back the whole game waiting for them to bring it to us, and they did.”
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