Moffat County soccer seniors stay stoic in loss to Oysters
Seeing an opponent that desperately wanted a bit of revenge didn’t help Moffat County High School soccer players Thursday, but even against a team looking to even up the score, Bulldogs young and old were looking to play their hearts out for Senior Night.
MCHS fell 4-2 in a rematch with the Oysters of Colorado Rocky Mountain School in a game coach Nathalie Boelen knew would be tougher the second time.
She noted that the Dogs’ 4-3 victory in Carbondale on Oct. 6 was one she hoped they could repeat, yet she could tell CRMS was raring to change up the score.
“It’s very clear they watched the game footage of us,” she said.
Oysters draped themselves over Vlajko Pavlovic and Axeel Mendoza in particular, knowing who to shut down to stall the offense.
Still, it was Moffat County that gained the first goal when Pedro Romero was pulled to the ground right by the Oyster goal about 10 minutes into the game. Pavlovic scored on the resulting penalty kick.
CRMS got in two goals from there to make it a 2-1 halftime.
Normally, MCHS players would have been discussing a strategy to strike back, but honoring three senior athletes came first as Mendoza, Romero and Josh Pando joined their families at midfield for a ceremony.
The three eldest Bulldogs had assistant coach Gerald Weder read off their thoughts on the past four years, the future to come and their bond together.
“I love you, man, from the bottom of my heart,” Romero’s letter stated to Pando.
Likewise, Pando’s letter was sentimental — “You’re like a brother to me.”
Mendoza’s letter also recognized his fellow seniors as well as the whole of the Bulldog bunch.
“This wasn’t just my team or my team whatsoever; this was my family,” he wrote.
Once back on the pitch, the two teams remained evenly matched for the following 20 minutes, until Mendoza tied up the score with a 20-foot blast, unassisted.
The celebration was short-lived, however, as CRMS’s Jon Sallinen charged the goal minutes to get another one past goalie Sabastian Hershiser. The Oysters widened the deficit when a free kick from 30 feet out by Bodi Dallas slipped through Hershiser’s fingers. The Bulldog keeper was able to fix his error when Dallas set up in almost the exact same spot, part of eight saves he had in the afternoon.
MCHS was on the attack again and again in the second half, but offense couldn’t quite get another goal in gear despite 19 shots.
Oysters put 22 shots in the books, but even more notably, 13 fouls.
“I can’t fault our guys, they played hard and they know it,” Boelen said.
At 2-12 overall, Moffat County soccer will have one final game for this week and the season, hosting a rescheduled match with Delta at 4 p.m. Friday.