Moffat County High School soccer shooting for victory | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County High School soccer shooting for victory

Changes include new coach, field, JV team

It's a whole new season for the Moffat County High School boys soccer team in more ways than one, and numerous changes may be just the key to helping them achieve their goals this year.

The most noticeable change this fall is the Bulldogs' surroundings. Instead of playing at Loudy-Simpson Park or Woodbury Sports Complex, the soccer program is now hosting games right on MCHS property, strengthening the association with the school.

This was thanks in part to a familiar face in MCHS soccer, Harry Tripp, who took on the duties of the boys team in addition to the girls' spring activities.

Yet another change for this year is the addition of a full slate of junior varsity games, which Tripp was glad to be able to instate for his sizable roster to give younger players more time on the field.

"The numbers are there. We just haven't been able to organize that before, but a lot of teams have JV," Tripp said.

Last year, the Bulldogs ended with one of their worst seasons of late, going 1-10-1 overall, with their shining moments coming from a win and a tie against the league's last-place finisher, Grand Valley, whom they will play Saturday.

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The only alteration to the 3A Region 3 bracket this season is the addition of Rifle, but players anticipate the harshest competition from last year's division leaders, Coal Ridge.

"They're always first place," senior Alex Arellano said.

Even so, Arellano, the team's goalie, thinks that this season will be different and that the Titans will be given a run for their money by the Bulldogs.

"I think we're going to do a lot better than last year," he said. "I'm working on my dives and getting more saves."

The mindset Tripp has instilled in players this year has members of the entire squad supporting one another. A tie game to open the season Tuesday was one the coach was glad to see, less because of the scoreboard than the way players meshed.

"It's about the team, not the individual," he said.

Senior Christian Viramontes said it was easy to fall into the habit of poor communication and even conflict among teammates during the previous season, and that's something he hopes to avoid in his final year at MCHS.

"Now, we're working together, good passes, no negative talk," he said. "I feel like we can go pretty far if we keep the way we're going right now. We have a lot of chemistry."

Sophomore Ulises Silva already has his eyes on the possibility of making it to the postseason, which the team hasn't reached since 2010. Having Tripp as a coach has made a big difference, he said.

"He makes us work on the little things that we're not good at and perfect them," Silva said.

Although the team has shone mostly on defense in its first two games, MCHS has yet to score a goal and a more aggressive offense will be important, he added.

"Our defense is really good right now, and we just need to take more shots," he said.

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

Moffat County High School 2014 boys soccer

Varsity schedule

Time, Date — Opponent, Home/Away

11 a.m. Sept. 6 — Grand Valley, home

4 p.m. Sept. 9 — Rifle, away

11 a.m. Sept. 13 — Rifle, home

4 p.m. Sept. 16 — Coal Ridge, away

5:30 p.m. Sept. 18 — Grand Junction, away

4 p.m. Sept. 23 — Roaring Fork, away

4 p.m. Sept. 25 — Aspen, home

4 p.m. Sept. 27 — Colorado Rocky Mountain, home

4 p.m. Oct. 2 — Basalt, away

3:30 p.m. Oct. 7 — Vail Mountain, away

4 p.m. Oct. 9 — Roaring Fork, home

4 p.m. Oct. 14 — Grand Valley, away

6 p.m. Oct. 16 — Steamboat Springs, home

Junior varsity schedule

6 p.m. Tuesday — Rifle, away

Noon Sept. 13 — Rifle, home

5:30 p.m. Sept. 16 — Coal Ridge, away

3:30 p.m. Sept. 18 — Grand Junction, away

5:30 p.m. Sept. 23 — Roaring Fork, away

5:30 p.m. Sept. 25 — Aspen, home

6 p.m. Oct. 2 — Basalt, away

3:30 p.m. Oct. 7 — Vail Mountain, away

5:30 p.m. Oct. 9 — Roaring Fork, home

4 p.m. Oct. 16 — Steamboat Springs, home

All dates and times are subject to change.