Moffat County soccer starts strong with Grand Junction |

Moffat County soccer starts strong with Grand Junction

Moffat County High School's Angel Bueno dodges a high kick from Grand Junction Tuesday.
Andy Bockelman

The first game on the home field this fall for Moffat County High School boys soccer was a fierce, fun 45 minutes to start. The rest of the 90-minute game clock was a little more exhausting, but there’s still time to improve on that element.

MCHS boys fell 6-0 to Grand Junction Tuesday, an event that was largely even at the onset between the 3A Bulldogs and 5A Tigers.

Despite having a deeper bench, Junction took longer than they’d have liked to put one into the Moffat County net, and even with their forwards wasting no time getting on the move, the Tigers had their work cut out for them with a protection-minded row of defenders aiding goalie Sabastian Hershiser.

A small window of opportunity on a miscue in the box allowed Junction to make 1-0 about 20 minutes into the match, but they wouldn’t have another chance through halftime as the Bulldogs kept them at bay.

Coming out of the break, Moffat County athletes were optimistic about what the remainder of the game would look like. However, their high spirits were paired with energy that was quickly draining.

They stayed competitive for another 20 minutes, yet from there the Tiger rotation started to amount to scoring as they pounded in five more goals — once on the rebound, two headers coming off corner kicks, a blast from within the box, and a penalty kick.

Altogether, MCHS recorded eight shots, and Hershiser had 21 saves.

Coach Nathalie Boelens put the shift between halfs down largely to conditioning.

“Phenomenal first half, for real, passing and all of that was great, but second half we got tired,” she said, adding that she intends to get players back in running shape.

While the physical part of the game can stand to be improved, it was a solid display of fundamentals that Boelen was pleased with Tuesday.

“They’re playing as a team, they’re talking, 100 percent better than our game in Fruita,” she said. “Our big goals are sportsmanship and building as a team. This isn’t a ‘me’ game.”

The group’s season opener was against fellow Grand Junction-area school Fruita Monument, a 9-0 loss Boelen was concerned would set a tone of negativity.

And, though much of the second half was wearisome, the team was still looking up by the final whistle.

Senior Josh Pando said he refused to let teammates start giving up once the Tigers started gaining momentum.

“I told them, 2-0 is nothing. You have to play like it’s 0-0,” he said.

The Bulldogs play another Grand Junction team, the Central Warriors, at 11 a.m. Saturday at MCHS.