Scoring woes continued for the Northwest College soccer programs over the weekend, as conference rival Laramie County Community College left Trapper Field with a sweep. The visitors from Cheyenne held the Lady Trappers and Trappers scoreless at 6-0 and 2-0, respectively.
“It definitely wasn’t the result we were hoping for with either team, but there are things we can build on,” said NWC’s Bobby Peters, head coach for both sides. “This coming week [against Western Wyoming and Gillette] will tell a lot about where we are with both programs.”
LCCC 2, Trappers 0
Defined as a game of “missed opportunities,” the men’s Saturday contest against LCCC ended without a goal on the board for the Trappers, though not for lack of opportunities.
“Whenever you get five free kicks around the box, you’d assume two of them would go in — especially since we work on them so much,” Peters said. “But for whatever reason, our guys, whenever they get up around the box, have been barely hitting the ball.”
It was a defensive battle from the start, with both teams turning away solid scoring chances. LCCC keeper Brady Mangel and Trapper keeper Marcus Olmos were at the top of their games, and the two teams were knotted 0-0 at the half.
The Golden Eagles broke the stalemate at the 53rd minute, when Ricardo Vasquez scored on a free kick. The teams would go back and forth until the 86th minute, when LCCC’s Cameron Broadhurst added an insurance goal, finalizing the score at 2-0.
“That second goal came from us pushing numbers up,” Peters said. “We were trying to get guys up into the play to tie it up and they caught us.”
“It was frustrating,” Peters said of the game. “Five corner kicks and not generating a shot, that was frustrating as well, because we’ve worked on that plenty of times. The execution part really needs to come into play.”
The Trappers haven’t been out of a game, according to Peters, but the team has yet put together a complete 90 minutes.
“There’s like a 20 to 25 minute window each game where we just don’t click completely,” he said. “We’re battling through those. I think we could have had a better game against LCCC, but at the very end, we didn’t keep our composure. That’s something we really need to work on.”
Several Trappers had very strong performances against the Golden Eagles, according to Peters.
“I thought Jarrett Shrum played very well; he put in a full 90 minutes,” Peters said. “Rennan DaSilva in the backfield did really well. Matheus Macedo stepped up in the backfield as well, Alex [Alejandro Fernandes] has been very strong. Morgan Dowling came in and played a couple of minutes, I thought he did really well in the minutes I had him in there. These guys earn their minutes.”
The Trappers are comprised of players from all over, with many different styles of play. Peters said the trick is getting the team to adapt to the unfamiliar.
“Everybody wants to play their own style. What I’ve been working on is getting them to play my style,” the coach said. “So in the final 10 minutes against LCCC, it basically reverted back to everyone doing their own thing, and that’s where we started getting those erratic runs. It needs to be my play style, not anyone else’s, so that’s on me to make them blend and have their unique play style that they can bring to it.”
But Peters also said the team is starting to find its niche. With plenty of time left in the season, the coach is confident the Trappers can still be a force come tournament time.
“We’re only two region games in, which means we have six left to prove our mettle,” he said. “But if we come into Western Wyoming and Gillette and do the same thing, then it’s sort of panic time. It becomes really hard if we’re dropping those games we should be able to compete for.”
What needs to change to be able to win those contests is the Trappers’ inability to capitalize on opportunities.
“We had two one-on-ones with the keeper [against LCCC], we had five set plays around the box, five corner kicks and we just missed the second ball half the time,” Peters said. “They beat us to that second ball. We just gotta work harder, work smarter and hopefully that will come out.”
LCCC 6, Lady Trappers 0
Ranked 18th in the nation, the Lady Golden Eagles proved worthy of that distinction Saturday at Trapper Field, scoring three goals in the first half and three in the second to remain undefeated in Region IX-North conference play.
Despite the lopsided score, Peters said the Lady Trappers continue to improve in all facets of the game. Battling injuries since the start of the season, the first-year coach is excited that his team is almost at full strength.
“They actually played much better,” Peters said. “We’ve been working on a few things to prevent turnovers and increase our opportunities going forward. That may have only resulted in one shot on LCCC’s goal, but we crossed their half line multiple times [and] got in their backfield, which is much better than we’ve done against other Top 20 opponents.”
The Lady Trappers were aggressive in the first half against the Lady Golden Eagles, with much of the action concentrated in the middle of the field. LCCC began creating more scoring opportunities as the half progressed, however, and opened the floodgates with three goals in a four-minute span. Lady Golden Eagle Faith Meredith scored the first two goals in the 31st and 33rd minute, while teammate Noemi Amaro scored just two minutes later to give LCCC a 3-0 lead at the half.
The second half was much of the same, with LCCC’s Meredith completing the hat trick in the 61st minute. Teammate Annie Rolf scored in the 66th minute and Alexis Hobbs closed out the scoring with a goal in the 80th minute.
“We had two or three mistakes that resulted in goals, but that’s what happens with a Top 20 team,” Peters said. “The biggest thing we’ve been working on has been trying to get them out of their bad habits. We’re trying to blend a lot of different styles; each player has come in with their own. They’re pretty much learning from a new, freshmen perspective. They’re eager to learn, but it’s been taking time.”
Peters was pleased with the effort, saying if his team played the second half the way they had played against Sheridan a week earlier, the result would have been a little different.
“It would have easily been in double digits,” he said. “Our girls in earlier games really struggled to build up play and find their outlets quickly, much less challenge for every 50-50 ball that went up in the air. We worked a lot on that this past week — on our positioning, how to recover. They actually did really well.”
Peters continues to tweak the lineup, looking for the best fit and encouraging players to try new positions. The Cody tandem of Jules Novakovich and Genevieve Sauers played at wing back instead of wing mids during the LCCC game, a position neither has played much in the past.
“Both of them really picked the position up nicely,” he said. LCCC’s leading scorer, Taylor Stoeger, was held scoreless, “and that’s a huge thing for Jules [Novakovich] to be able to shut her down like that,” Peters said.
Injuries have plagued the Lady Trappers this season, and the team had another scare Saturday, as midfielder Gabriele Carvalho had to be helped from the field in the second half. But Peters said the freshman from Sao Paulo, Brazil will be good to go against Gillette.
“She [Carvalho] took a big knock, but she’s going to be OK,” he said. “Everybody’s actually starting to become healthy. I have a couple who are still on limited practice time, but overall I’d say we’re finally hitting a healthy spot.”
The NWC soccer teams traveled to Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs Wednesday, and will welcome Gillette to Trapper Field Saturday.