Coach sees promise in defeat
Northwest College soccer worked through a brutal preseason schedule in order to be better prepared once the regular season got underway.
And though the results aren’t showing quite yet for either the Trapper men’s or women’s team, their head coach knows they are close to putting it together.
“We certainly have the ability and talent, but so much of it is about getting that confidence,” coach Rob Hill said.
This past Friday the Lady Trappers fell by a 2-0 score to visiting Otero, with a goal coming 15 minutes in and the final score coming with eight minutes left.
“The first three-quarters of the game I think we gave them a little too much respect,” Hill said. “We didn’t put the pressure on the ball that we needed to, we weren’t urgent enough, when it was a game we could have definitely competed in.”
That was followed up by another narrow defeat Saturday, a 1-0 final against Trinidad.
“That was another one we could have had,” Hill said. “We had quite a lot of opportunities but our finishing was just a bit off.”
The game was scoreless through the first half, and it was a late mistake that netted Trinidad’s lone goal.
“It wasn’t a threatening situation, but one of our girls slid in and got a penalty,” Hill said. “It was a penalty, the referee had to call it, but it wasn’t a situation where we needed to do that. But that’s part of the growing pains of a new team. We could have done better, but as long as we keep our heads positive and we can put together a run of games. This is a stronger team, no question, than last year, but we’ve really only played in second gear with a bit in third. Once they get that belief and start playing in fourth and fifth gear you’ll see that lift.”
The Northwest men had just the Saturday match against Trinidad and lost by a 3-1 score, after dropping their regular season opener the previous weekend 2-1 to Western Wyoming.
“They countered us on a goal kick, got into a 3-on-2 and put it away, so that was on us. That sort of thing shouldn’t happen,” Hill said of Trinidad’s first score Saturday. “The second goal was the same thing, them countering us on a goal kick. But everyone was confident that if we got one goal, we would be right back in it.”
They did get that goal in the 25th minute from Marcus Manuel to make it a 2-1 score at intermission.
It stayed that way through most of the second half, with the Trappers getting plenty of looks but not able to cash them in.
Then, with just five minutes left in the match, a ball went up in the box with the Trinidad keeper leaping to snare it — just as Zadik Sanchez launched himself for an attempted header.
The ensuing collision was inevitable, the resulting call was not. Sanchez was whistled for the penalty, giving the Trojans the opening for their final score.
“They both are entitled to go for the ball, and Zadik is 5 inches smaller than their keeper,” Hill said. “The players collide and they get a free kick out of it. But when we watch film, they’ll see that it’s just a matter of feet and inches that is the difference between winning games and not winning games. They’ve got the talent and the mental strength and we’ll get better.”
The Trapper squads will hit the road this weekend with Friday matches at Laramie County and a visit to Western Nebraska on Saturday.