Moffat County soccer ends season on positive note in hard-fought game with Grand Valley
The final week of Moffat County High School girls soccer may have started in a rocky manner, but the last outing was about all Bulldogs wanted it to be.
Well, maybe a couple things could have gone differently…
MCHS wrapped its season Saturday with a 3-1 defeat to the Grand Valley Cardinals in one of the strongest games in an altogether rough year at 1-13.
An April 30 Senior Night had players emotional early in the week, with a halftime sendoff for eight upperclassmen: Bailey Lawton, Terry Gillett, Jackie Barraza, Naomi Torres, Yoselin Cordero-Alcantar, Ebawnee Smercina, Larissa Payan, and Trinitie Beckner.
“It’s pretty bittersweet,” said Gillett, one of the team’s captains. “I’m definitely going to miss playing with these girls.”
The camaraderie was meaningful in an otherwise difficult day, compacted by a stormy atmosphere and a tenacious Basalt opponent, the match ending earlier than expected by 10-0 mercy rule.
The loss to the Longhorns wasn’t what Bulldogs were hoping for, providing a motivator against the Cardinals, whom the Dogs faced earlier in the season in a 5-2 loss.
Grand Valley busted loose quickly, netting a goal in about 20 seconds, but the rest of the first half was among the hardest play coach Nathalie Boelen had seen from her athletes.
The second half remained touchy with the Cards capitalizing on temporary defensive lapses twice more, and MoCo’s morale hit hard when Kenzie Rehor had to be assisted off the field after a point-blank shot to the face.
Out of everyone on the roster, Rehor has had the most trying season physically, Boelen said, with her forward injuring her wrist and knee earlier in the spring before a blow to the noggin.
“She’s a bit of a lightweight, she’s pretty small, but she’s a tough cookie,” Boelen said.
Though a shutout loomed, team spirit was back where it needed to be once Bulldogs set up for a corner kick with 12 minutes remaining.
Beckner knocked the ball into a field of teammates heavily stacked around the Grand Valley goal. With a bit of Moffat juggling, Alexa Neton seized the opportunity to blast it into the box for her first goal.
The hectic atmosphere didn’t allow for too much time to think, she said.
“I just thought, ‘there’s the ball, I should kick it,'” Neton said.
A two-point margin compared to three was an improvement over the last game with Grand Valley, as well as a typically acrobatic performance by Lawton in goal with 16 saves in her final soccer event.
Though she’ll be seeing most of her starters graduate, Boelen said she sees plenty of promise in the younger players who will be returning.
“They’ve been playing really hard, and that’s what I asked of them,” she said.
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