Moffat County boys soccer toeing the line |

Moffat County boys soccer toeing the line

Bulldog seniors look to break through playoff barrier for first time

Moffat County High School's Juan Loya fights for possession during the Bulldogs' first game of the season in Steamboat Springs. A small but determined MCHS roster is looking to improve on last year and hopefully qualify for the playoffs.
Joel Reichenberger

Last season, the Moffat County High School boys soccer program was on the verge of making it to the postseason for the first time since 2010, only to be knocked out of contention by a statistical qualifier. This year, the Bulldog effort will outweigh the numbers.

MCHS soccer kicks off their home schedule this weekend, players ready to take it all the way this season.

Completion is the name of the game, said Harry Tripp, whether during minutes on the field or the attitude athletes carry with them while they practice. On the one hand, coming out strong is essential, but just as necessary is finishing that way.

An early game in Steamboat Springs saw Moffat County get going early, much to their coach’s delight, only to do the opposite later in the week in Carbondale.

“That first 30 minutes in Steamboat, I want that intensity all the time,” he said.

Tripp has been instituting conditioning drills for players this week that get them into that mindframe — a jaunt downhill along Finley Lane starts things easily, but a loop that leads them back up an incline is when their endurance must kick in and stay with them until they finish.

Ideally, the message received is that all parts of the game are important, Tripp said.

Basic components of soccer are already there for most players, he said, like two-touches and passing, and the goal of every coach to promote the right kind of communication has already started to take effect.

“They’re bonding, gelling, not fighting with each other or picking on each other, they’re positive and uplifting with each other,” Tripp said. “It’s a good group of kids.”

The varsity roster is small this season, including seniors Ulises Silva, Micajah Prescott and Marco Hernandez, while a handful of younger players are also ready for some minutes.

Due to the limitations, Tripp won’t be able to maintain a full junior varsity schedule, though he plans to engage opponents Grand Junction, Aspen, Roaring Fork and Delta in JV home games.

“It’ll give them some good playing time,” he said.

The 3A Western Slope League is a little larger this year as Delta moves back into the division alongside usual Bulldog foes Basalt, Coal Ridge, Grand Valley and Vail Mountain. Charter school Caprock Academy also joins the WSL for its first official season with a soccer program.

Whether it’s a team they’ve faced before or someone entirely new, Tripp wants the same level of play.

“I want them to look at it as, ‘every game is hard,’ go out with the same intensity and push each other,” he said.

Besides being an All-Conference honoree last season, Silva also led the WSL in goals with 22. In his final season at MCHS, he not only wants to see the team improve on the 7-6-1 record they had in 2015 and hopefully move to the playoffs but also just be the team he knows they can be.

“Knowing we were so close last year is going to motivate us,” he said. “Everybody is trying to work with each other, trying to be better. There’s no negativity. If somebody misses a goal or has a bad pass, we all just want to bring each other up, say, ‘we’ll get it next time.’”

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

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