Moffat County girls soccer seeks changes with new coach, energized team
For the Craig Press
It’s been a rough few years for the Moffat County High School girls soccer program.
But, with a new coach at the head of their team, a new bunch of talent, and a new bundle of uniforms as they take the field, this season will look different in many ways.
While in recent season, this time of year would be the wrap-up for the schedule, MCHS girls kick off the newly instituted Season D this Friday on the road against Roaring Fork under the guidance of new head coach Chelsea Suazo.
Suazo grew up in the Denver area, competing in the sport at Aurora’s Smoky Hill, before attending Colorado Mountain College.
Suazo, who teaches second grade at Ridgeview Elementary School, was originally an assistant under former coach Rusty Cox in 2018, as well as working with Cox’s successor Nathalie Boelen, who left MCHS at the close of the last school year.
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“I’m excited to be out here for this, because the girls were kind of looking at me to keep it going, and I didn’t want to let the program slide,” she said. “I should be here long-term, and I really want to build this up so we can get some girls with some experience.”
The team went 2-11 under Cox and 1-13 under Boelen, finishing last in the 3A Western Slope League, while every Colorado team had its schedule canceled in 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With spring sports starting anew, Suazo expects the league will be tough to predict with all schools rebuilding after the hiatus.
As far as MoCo, she and her assistant coach — her brother Nick — will be fostering numerous athletes who are still gaining game mastery.
“With all the new girls that surprised me coming out, we’re just dialing down the basics so far,” she said. “Going over basic drills in shooting and passing techniques and introducing the formation on the field. We’ve talked a lot about the importance of communication on the field.”
Suazo will have some previous players returning, though some upperclassmen balked at the idea of a season that will extend into mid-June.
However, she will have five seniors who are a mixture of experience.
Ofelia Quezada and Grisel Moriel have been on the Bulldog roster for most of their time in high school.
“I’m hoping that my last year will be memorable,” Quezada said.
Moriel had limited playing time due to a concussion, though she feels far more confident in the sport now.
“I have improved so much, like, freshman year I ran away from the ball and I was so scared of everybody, but this year I’m the one who’s attacking,” she said.
New to the team in her final year of school is transfer student Daniela Yanez, as well as Hannah Vasquez and Kelsey McDiffett, who opted to make the leap from track and field to soccer.
All games subject to change
4, 6 p.m. May 7 — Roaring Fork; Away
4, 6 p.m., May 13 — Rifle; Away
4, 6 p.m., May 18 — Coal Ridge; Home
4, 6 p.m., May 20 — Delta; Home
4, 6 p.m., May 25 — Aspen; Home
4, 6 p.m., June 3 — Grand Valley; Home
4, 5:30 p.m., June 8 — Vail Mountain; Away
TBD, June 10 — Basalt; Away
11 a.m., 1 p.m., June 12 — Grand Valley; Away
“We would always see them down here practicing,” Vasquez said, referring to the soccer field. “They looked like they were having so much fun. We decided we’d try it.”
Suazo said seniors returning and new have been quick to take on leadership.
“It’s been nice to see them lend a hand to new people,” she said.
MCHS girls soccer will host its home opener May 18 against Coal Ridge.
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The season isn’t done yet for a pair of Moffat County High School golfers.