Tide turns against Oysters as Moffat County soccer earns first win
CARBONDALE — Several months of hard work and team bonding added up Saturday as the Moffat County High School boys soccer program earned its long-awaited first win of the season.
Bulldogs finished the afternoon 4-3 on the road against the Oysters of Colorado Rocky Mountain School.
“I am ecstatic, I really am, just want to jump up and down and scream and squeal,” coach Nathalie Boelen said, once both teams came off the field. “They really played well together.”
The game in Carbondale was one which the Dogs controlled from the beginning, ahead 1-0 at halftime. Though the Oysters responded with their own scoring effort, MCHS didn’t let up on offense or defense.
Boelen said the group meshed perhaps better than they ever had, especially freshmen who showed their tenacity.
Miguel Zaragoza went in as goalie for the first time this season, facing a heavy-shooting Oyster crew, who had 28 attempts on goal, including the hat trick by Jon Salliner.
“I talked before to Miguel before the game about pushing the ball out quickly straight out, like to Axeel (Mendoza) or to Josh (Pando),” Boelen said.
She added that Hector Luna Meza and Eduardo Olivera had a “phenomenal” game, functioning well in positions that were a bit of an adjustment.
“Hector doesn’t like playing midfield, but he does really well because he knows how to play that wing position,” she said.
She said she also moved Guillermo Estecha back from striker to fullback to great effect.
“He’s quick enough that he’s not scared to go up and play that big but then drop back and be there for the defense,” she said.
Luna Meza and Mendoza each scored once with Vlajko Pavlovic knocking in two goals for the Dogs.
“We had such great communication today. One of our best games,” Mendoza said.
Players were quick to toss part of the remnants of the team cooler onto Boelen after the game, a custom which she was happy to accept. The Bulldogs’ Thursday home game against Delta was rained out, though she saw plenty of good energy in their return to competition.
“They kept the momentum up, they were talking, and one of the things I keep telling my seniors is instead of fussing with younger kids when they mess up, talk to them and say positive things when they’re doing stuff right,” Boelen said. “I think that’s working for us. We can talk about how bad mistakes are, but the best thing is to say, ‘Hey, that was a great ball’ and keep it moving. That positivity was great.”
MCHS travels to Coal Ridge Tuesday to face the Titans and are scheduled to host Grand Valley Oct. 11, with a new date for Delta uncertain.
“I really think this will be a turning point for us,” Boelen said.
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