Saturday’s home openers against Sheridan were a mixed bag for the Northwest College soccer teams, with the injury-plagued Lady Trappers losing in a 9-0 rout, while the Trappers battled the Generals to a 1-1 tie in overtime.
“The weekend was definitely a learning experience,” said NWC’s Bobby Peters, head coach for both squads. “Neither game ended the way we would have liked. But there is a lot we can work with moving forward.”
Trappers 1, Sheridan 1 OT
The men’s home opener was a physical one, with six yellow cards and a red card slapped on the visiting Generals, while the home team managed four yellows and one red of their own.
But in between the referees emptying their pockets was a hard-fought and competitive soccer game, ending in a 1-1 tie in overtime.
“Teams are taught to go after us, to chip us, to trip us, to push us in the back on the guys side,” Peters said. “We have a lot of skill, and the other teams seem to get away with it. That game was frustrating to me, more so because it’s something I warned them [the Trappers] was going to happen.”
The Trappers got on the board first in the game’s 44th minute, after NWC was awarded a penalty shot. Alejandro Fernandes converted, giving the Trappers a 1-0 lead at the half. Ten minutes into the second frame, Sheridan was awarded a penalty kick of their own, with Triston Austin knotting the game at 1-1.
“We had five clear-cut [scoring] opportunities, and had we actually executed our gameplan a little bit better, we would have had many more,” Peters said. “We’re working on our positioning, we’re working on our formation and how we play the game.”
Both teams had chances in overtime, though neither was able to capitalize. Tempers continued to flare, and in the game’s final minutes, Trapper midfielder Sergio Garcia Santamarina was ejected following an altercation with a Sheridan defender. Because his red card infraction was considered violent in nature, Santamarina, whose four goals this season leads the team, will have to sit two games, though Peters is appealing the ruling.
“It’s a shame, because Sergio has been playing really well,” he said. “He had a goal called back on him earlier in the game. He’s getting targeted by some teams now because he’s the one that’s scoring the goals, but we’ve got some others that can do it as well.”
Finding himself short of goalkeepers due to injury, Peters was forced to improvise earlier this season, pulling a familiar face from the assistant coaching ranks and putting him into active duty. Marcus Olmos, a reserve keeper on last year’s team who still had a year of eligibility remaining, had returned to NWC this year as a keeper trainer. Now the starting keeper, Olmos recorded 17 saves on 18 shots on Saturday.
“Due to things out of our control, we lost a couple of keepers right off the bat,” Peters said. “So Marcus [Olmos] stepped right on in; it was basically a seamless transition. He’s a good leader back there, he keeps everybody active in front of him, dictates where they’re going, makes sure they’re marking up. And he’s pretty good at distributing the ball. He’s a big body, he can win balls in the air. He’s doing really well for us.”
The Trappers host another Region IX opponent Saturday in Laramie County Community College. The Golden Eagles are 1-2 on the season, but Peters expects a tough contest. He also expects his team to be ready for anything.
“This team has a lot of talent,” Peters said of the Trappers. “We’re 1-1-1, which really does not talk to how our team plays. Realistically, if we start putting together the final pieces, we’ll do well. We can challenge any team in the region, and that’s what I’m looking forward to. Getting everybody on the same page, that’s the biggest trick.”
Sheridan 9, Lady Trappers 0
As for the women’s game against Sheridan, “I was kind of disappointed,” Peters said. “We played a tough game, but again, the biggest issue was ourselves. We gave away the ball in silly positions and didn’t recover properly. We really put ourselves behind the 8-ball.”
Saturday’s contest at Trapper Field was the Region IX opener for the Lady Generals, and each side came ready to play. Sheridan (1-2, 1-0) broke the stalemate against NWC (0-5, 0-2) in the 17th minute, as Lady General Jordan Quig found the back of the net for the game’s first score. Teammate Hannah Ozmon followed suit in the 30th minute, and Sheridan went into the half holding a 2-0 lead.
“They [NWC] fought hard in the first half, just two mistakes did us in on the first two goals,” Peters said. “We were starting to get at them at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second, creating opportunities and getting on the attack.”
The teams went back and forth for the first 15 minutes of the second half before Sheridan’s Ozmon scored her second goal of the game, assisted by Quig. Peters said the dynamic changed after that score.
“The third goal basically broke our back,” he said. “It was just one of those things where once that third one went in, all their heads dropped. I was upset by that. The mistakes, they happen. But whenever we can figure out how to fix those tiny mistakes, they’ll be able to compete. But it’s going to be a tough season until we finally figure it out.”
Despite the lopsided score, Peters said there was plenty the team can build on.
“What I liked was whenever we started pressing and getting into the game, we actually were able to create opportunities,” he said. “I’ve had a few players step up and start to play bigger. I had Jules Novakovich move back to a marking back position, because she has speed and reads the play well. She’s actually one of my stronger ball-winners, and she’s been doing pretty well, I’ve been happy with what she’s been giving us.”
Peters also had praise for keeper Christina Lacek, who had a busy day in net with 14 saves.
“Christina kept us in there to start, making save after save,” he said. “Another positive I took from it was whenever I moved a player around, they showed they could play in those roles. With injuries, we have to be creative in our lineup, and smart about the way we go about things.”
The Lady Trappers welcome in Laramie County Community College (2-4, 0-0) Saturday, and Peters said he expects a tough test.
“We’re switching up a couple of things, I saw some players start showing pretty well in other positions,” Peters said. “Brandi Beddes might find herself playing on the defensive side a little bit more, just because of her consistency back there. Genevieve [Sauers] and Jules [Novakovich] will most likely be wingbacks, because it will put them in position to be the first creators on the field.”
New to the team Saturday was former Powell High School Lady Panther Treva Robson. Her first practice was the day before, but she actually saw some playing time against Sheridan.
“I had no subs due to injuries, and she [Robson] came on and did well,” Peters said. “I saw that she can fill a couple of roles for us, but obviously we have to get her in shape.”
The key to beating LCCC, according to Peters, will be for the team to play a full 90 minutes.
“In the Sheridan game, we played about 30 minutes the first half and 15 the second,” he said. “If we can pull together a full game, we’ll have decent success.”