Moffat County soccer stays stalwart vs. Vail Mountain, Basalt | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County soccer stays stalwart vs. Vail Mountain, Basalt

Moffat County High School girls soccer players had their work cut out for them in their first home games, but Lady Bulldogs didn’t shy away from the challenge.

MCHS took a pair of losses Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning, 6-0 and 10-0 against Vail Mountain and Basalt, respectively.

The Gore Rangers racked up five goals in the opening half of Moffat County’s first match of the season on their home turf, and coach Rusty Cox challenged the Bulldogs to worry less about the score than regaining control of the game flow.

The pep talk showed in their energy the next 40 minutes, limiting Vail to only one more goal with a defensive effort that refused to quit.

“They came out a little flat today, had some nerves, but they were fine after that,” Cox said. “We’ve shifted our lines massively from what we’ve ever played, kind of all over the place and out of position, but I’m super proud.”

In goal, Bulldog keeper Bailey Lawton was quick to fall back on volleyball tactics — blocks and spikes — to keep the ball at bay.

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This is the first year playing at the high school level for Lawton.

“I feel like I just had a really off first half, and I think that’s how everybody feels,” she said. “Rusty’s really helped us out a lot. He knows what to do and when to do it.”

Cox, who also moved back into coaching boys soccer in the fall, took on the girls team this spring with Chelsea Suazo.

“What I tell them I care about is moving forward every game,” he said. “It’s a new coach, new system, and there’s going to be bumps. We’re doing things different, and it’s a big learning curve.”

With changes in the roster, MCHS struggled in its weekend bout, as the Longhorn stampede overtook the Bulldogs early with an 8-0 start.

Basalt coaches worked in more of their bench as they worked toward a 4-1 season tally, and Moffat County were on better footing, though a bobbled save by Lawton and a free kick that found net gave the Longhorns the double-digit win.

Though Basalt rarely let the Dogs past midfield, Mandy Cazares swept out wide on the wing again and again in the final minutes to work toward a score.

“We had quite a few opportunities,” Suazo said. “It was all about helping each other find their feet.”

MCHS girls are 1-4 so far and will host Grand Junction’s Central Warriors at 4 p.m. Tuesday.