Team scrapes together win
As if three games in four days wasn’t enough for the Moffat County girls soccer team, they needed even more soccer against Palisade on Friday.
“We were all exhausted,” said sophomore Shaylyn Kawcak. “With three games this week, it was the most tired I’ve been.”
Palisade wasn’t the freshest team either. The maroon Bulldogs went into overtime Tuesday against Eagle Valley.
In the end, Moffat junior Jessica Uecker and sophomore Ashleigh Mann played a little give-and-go outside the Palisade goal box before Mann took a pass and put it past Palisade’s Kelli Given for the 2-1 win. The goal was scored in the 87th minute of the game.
After Mann kicked the winner, she laid on the ground for a couple of seconds to collect the energy to celebrate.
“My legs were dead,” she said. “I passed the ball to (Jessica), and when she passed it back, I just knew.”
The Palisade team sat silently as they changed their shoes and shin guards after the game.
“It was our second loss in a row like that,” coach Sean Kennedy said. “That’s hard. That’s why they were like that.”
Kennedy said he thought that the momentum had shifted to his team in the second half after Emily Temple’s free kick from at least 30 yards out found its way into the Moffat goal. But in the end “Moffat capitalized,” he said.
In regulation, both teams had chances. Moffat keeper, sophomore Heather Brown, endured getting knocked down during a save three times throughout the game.
“Give Heather some credit,” Moffat coach Jim Loughran said. “She had a heck of a day.”
The home Bulldogs scored first in the game when Uecker found Mann in front of the goal and Mann found Palisade’s Given out of position. Fifteen minutes into the game, Moffat went up 1-0.
In the next 65 minutes, MoCo players couldn’t find a hole past Given. In the second half the back-to-back games started to take a toll on Moffat.
“I was trying to rotate everybody in and out to get some rest,” Loughran said. “We controlled the ball most of the game, but Palisade got through on that one chance.”
In the first game against Palisade, coach Loughran commented that his girls kicked the ball everywhere but in the net. Things went that way in the second half, as well.
Mann misfired wide and high in the final four minutes of regulation.
Going into overtime, Lough–ran didn’t have a big pep talk. He didn’t think he needed one.
“I just told them, ‘Go out and win it,'” he said.
“We knew if we were going to have a chance for the playoffs, we had to win,” Kawcak said.
“We had to step it up,” Mann added.
High school soccer overtime is separated into two, five-minute periods and if no team scores, it is recorded as a tie.
Kawcak was right next to the final play.
“I was just hoping she’d get the shot off,” she said. “When it went in, I was pumped.”
The win ties Moffat for a school-record three wins in a season and two Western Slope League wins. The team has five remaining games to set the school record for both.
“We can do that,” Loughran said. “I think we’ve got things figured out now with our new look.”
The win also moved Moffat out of the basement of the WSL. They’re now tied with Palisade and Eagle Valley in the win category.
“This was a good game because all 11 players contributed,” Loughran said.
He then explained how everybody contributed.
“It’s a good feeling,” he said in conclusion. “They deserved this win.”
Next up for the 2-7 Bulldogs is a Tuesday slant against Rifle. The 3-4-1 Bears took the first contest 2-1.
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Across seven games, Moffat County High School football had not yet been on the wrong side of the scoreboard this fall.