Moffat County girls soccer looks to extend season with postseason win
If you go...
Moffat County girls soccer vs. Manitou Springs
When: 5 p.m. Friday
Where: Jackson Field in Greeley
If Moffat County wins ...
Next game: Moffat County vs. winner of Frontier Academy/Estes Park
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Jackson Field in Greeley
Craig — The Moffat County girls soccer team is officially a member of the Class 3A postseason proceedings.
In making the state tournament bracket, the Bulldogs accomplished something no MCHS girls soccer team has done before. Now the Bulldogs will look to extend their season beyond just one extra game.
Moffat County received the No. 23 seed (out of 32) and will make its run at the round of eight in the state tournament with the potential of two games in Greeley later this week. The Bulldogs will take on 10th-seeded Manitou Springs at 5 p.m. Friday at the University of Northern Colorado’s Jackson Field. With a win, the Bulldogs would play the winner of No. 7 Frontier Academy and No. 26 Estes Park on Saturday, also in Greeley.
Taking down Manitou Springs will be no easy task. The Mustangs went 10-4 in the regular season and took second place in Class 3A Region 2, behind top-ranked Classical Academy. They also scored 73 goals over those 14 games and were shut out just once.
“We talked (Monday) about numbers,” Moffat County coach Harry Tripp said. “How many they’ve scored, where their assists are coming from. It looks like it’s their midfielders and forwards. Their midfielders score on a lot of long shots, or their forwards are there for rebounds.”
So Tripp thinks controlling the middle of the field will be the most important thing for the Bulldogs’ effort to disrupt Manitou Springs’ offense.
“I’ve talked to our midfielders, Allie (Ehlers) and Brenna (Ciesco), and I want them to stay back a little more and just keep getting in their way,” he said. “I think it’s also going to be key that Bailey (Hellander, the forward-most defender), holds down the middle and isn’t out of position on the sides of the field.”
Tripp wants to make it a low-scoring game and hopes to take advantage of a handful of strong, counter-attacking opportunities. Ciesco said Moffat County’s passing, much improved this season, will continue to be the most important aspect of the game.
“We need to talk a lot and pass well,” Ciesco said. “If we do that, we can win the game. When you pass a lot, it’s easier because you aren’t running as much and you don’t get tired.”
Tripp said it’s a winnable game for the Bulldogs, but he also acknowledged seeing the nerves of his players come out in practice this week. Ehlers didn’t deny that the players are anxious about the game.
“I think we’re a little iffy,” she said. “We’ve never been to playoffs and we’ve only seen teams from our conference, so we’re not sure what (the Mustangs are) like.”
Ehlers played in the state soccer playoffs the previous two seasons while at Coal Ridge.
“I keep saying to them to just play their hardest,” Ehlers said. “There’s nothing else I’ve really told them. That’s what matters.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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