Moffat County soccer soaks Oysters in rematch with Colorado Rocky Mountain
Like Bon Jovi’s breakout album, the Moffat County High School soccer field could best be described as slippery when wet Saturday morning, but the Bulldogs were hardly livin’ on a prayer.
Their first win at home and in 3A Western Slope League Play came from a hard-fought game against Colorado Rocky Mountain School, as the Craig crew bested the Carbondale team 3-0.
The ‘Dogs were looking to settle a score from a week earlier, when they visited the Oysters — yep, real name — Sept. 16 and lost 4-0.
The Bulldog bench for that game was shallow, forcing the team to make do without several starters, including goalie Daniel Moore and, instead, rotating in three subs.
Moore was back in the crease at home and spent much of the game in the mud, as soggy conditions made the field less than favorable.
Even so, what began as an even contest began to lean Moffat County’s way when Axeel Mendoza drew first blood late in the first half on a direct kick opportunity in front of the CRMS goal, lofting it just enough over defenders to put it in the top corner.
The ‘Dogs were looking to increase that lead after a halftime breather, and for the next 40 minutes, they remained largely in control.
A breakaway by Juan Loya saw him speeding to a one-on-one with the Oyster keeper, and he narrowly got a shot into the net before colliding with his opponent.
“I thought he was gonna slide, but instead, he just came up with his whole body,” Loya said. “I thought it went in, but I didn’t see it until everybody started making noise.”
Opportunities came and went on both sides, but some of the best moments of the day came shortly before the final whistle, though it’s a toss-up for coach Rusty Cox which he loved to see more: a sliding tackle by Wyatt Nielsen that turned into a pass to set up son Christopher Cox for a quick goal — an example of “perfect teamwork” — or a last-minute, fearless deflection by Moore on the Oysters’ last chance to score on a free kick, which the Bulldog goalie popped up just right to keep the shutout.
“That was crazy stuff,” Cox said, “He just reached back, pulled it right out of there. It was a beautiful shot by their team, but for him to save it was just great. Everybody played their positioning much better today, and this team was disciplined. It was a good battle.”
Besides a swift response to the initial defeat to the Oysters, the rematch also was the official conference game between the two, as the Bulldogs move to 1-1 in WSL play, 2-6 overall.
Loya said the victory is an indicator the squad can come back from previous failures and succeed.
“Last week, we didn’t put much effort into it. They scored in the first five minutes, and this time, we came in with our heads held high,” he said. “All our hard work showed.”
MCHS will next host Basalt at 4 p.m. Tuesday.