Moffat County soccer undaunted by uphill battle with Vail Mountain |

Moffat County soccer undaunted by uphill battle with Vail Mountain

Moffat County High School's Axeel Mendoza goes head-to-head with Vail Mountain's Wyatt Palmer during Bulldog soccer's Tuesday game. MCHS lost 3-0 to the Gore Rangers.
Andy Bockelman/staff

CRAIG — When you’re going up against a team called the Gore Rangers, your guard should already be up, but defense was the name of the game Tuesday for Moffat County High School boys soccer.

The Bulldogs fell 3-0 to Vail Mountain School in a fierce, fast-paced game that head coach Rusty Cox said was one of the best outings he’s seen from his players.

Neither side let their opponent breathe from the start, as the first 25 minutes were man-to-man mania, with the Dogs getting their toes, chests and heads on Vail’s passes over and over again to exasperate the visiting team.

Eager to come off a small slump with losses to Denver area teams Colorado Academy and Jefferson Academy, the Gore Rangers finally found a goal just before the 25-minute mark, as Nathan Rouaud seized on an opportunity to blast it into the Moffat County box.

With the score 1-0 at halftime, Cox told his players to stay the course and keep up the pep for the remainder, though about five minutes in, a long kick by Rouaud unexpectedly led to another Gore Ranger point, as goalie Daniel Moore misjudged the roll, which lightly bumped off the inner post for the score.

Another lengthy shot several minutes later, this time from Henry Strauch, likewise got past Moore for the final goal, though the Bulldog keeper would be on his toes for the rest of the game, knocking down all attempts and amassing 17 total saves.

“We gave up two goofy goals, and we always use the term unlucky bounce, but everybody was working, everyone was hustling; we’re really coming along,” Cox said.

The effort was not lost on the players, either, given Vail Mountain’s perennial reputation as playoff contenders.

“We held together really well in the first half, a lot better than we did against them last year, that was 7-1,” Tristen Walls said. “Proud of our freshmen coming in; we’re playing like a family.”

The Dogs had another home game in store for the week as the Grand Valley Cardinals came to town.

The well-matched contest again started well, as an opening breakaway goal for the Cards by Angel Garcia was swiftly answered by a midfield longshot by Axeel Mendoza, though Garcia would again put one past Moore to make it 2-1 at the half.

Moffat County tied it up, as a throw-in by Wells wound up in the net when Mendoza and Juan Loya rushed the Grand Valley goal. Loya was credited with the score.

However, Garcia ended the day with a hat trick and then some, starting with a successful penalty kick and another goal for good measure to hand the Bulldogs a 4-2 defeat.

MCHS, now 1-4, will travel to Carbondale on Saturday to meet Colorado Rocky Mountain School.

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