NWC Men’s Soccer Falls At Home To Western Wyoming, 2-0
With Homecoming festivities in full swing for Powell High School last week, it was also a homecoming of sorts for the Northwest College men’s soccer team, as the Trappers were back on their home pitch after three games on the road.
But the Trappers (3-2-1), still coming down from an emotional road win against Laramie County CC the previous weekend, struggled to find a rhythm, falling to Western Wyoming CC 2-0 at Trapper Field on Sept. 20.
“I thought we came out pretty decent in the first 20 minutes or so,” said Trappers head coach Stan Rodrigues. “But I really don’t know what happened from there. I kind of feel like the lights went out. They got tired and really kind of lost focus, played a little scatter-brained.”
After the Laramie game, one that holds some historical significance for the program, Rodrigues said the team had a bit of “a hangover, a little bit of a letdown.”
“Not to take anything away from Western Wyoming, because they did play very well, but I feel like when my team plays at the level they’re supposed to, if they happen to lose, then I can live with it. But I don’t really feel like the team played close to what they’re capable of playing,” the coach said. “They never got their bearings to show what they could do.”
Despite the team playing a little out of sorts, the Trappers defended well, allowing just a goal in each half. Mustangs midfielder Colton Harrison scored the first goal of the game at the 37:00 mark with an assist by Jesse Lopez. Javier Arvayo added an insurance goal 40 minutes later, again assisted by Lopez, to close out scoring for the game.
“They got stung,” Rodrigues said of his team. “It’s like getting punched in the mouth. You get punched in the mouth, you got to get back up and just keep going. That’s what we have to learn. ... That was the first time we were punched in the mouth in a game like that. Kudos to WWCC for doing what they had to do.”
The Trappers were further hampered by the loss of midfielder Robert George, who was serving a suspension for a red card received against Laramie County. Rodrigues said George epitomizes the work ethic the team builds itself on.
“This team is not a technical team, we’re not necessarily going to beat teams that are technically gifted,” he said. “We’re very much a blue-collar team that can run with most just based on our heart. Not having Robert George in the middle really hurt us.”
On a positive note, George’s absence allowed Rodrigues to give a few subs some much-needed playing time. Players like Malachy Sundstrom, Carlos Somolinos Bravo and Carlos Felguerso all saw solid minutes.
“I tried fixing it by adding several different players in that role, and they all did what they could,” Rodrigues said. “Unfortunately, they’re just not Robert George. They may not be called upon every game, but when they are, they gotta give all they can give me. ... I’m proud of those boys.”
Not content with their play earlier in the day, Rodrigues said the team went back out to the field later that evening, holding a mini-scrimmage just for the enjoyment of it.
“We went out there and just played for fun, just got back to what we believe in,” Rodrigues explained. “We’re playing because we love it. Losing the way we did, it shook us a little bit. Being resilient is what my team can do, and I think they needed it.”
Looking ahead, the Trappers hosted Sheridan Wednesday, and will square off against Gillette Saturday at Trapper Field.
“The biggest thing for this week is to be healthy and be ready,” Rodrigues said. “Don’t forget the feeling of the success that we’ve had this season, but also don’t forget the feeling of disappointment. It’s OK to let one or the other drive you, as long as you’re all playing for a common goal.”
The Trappers host Gillette Saturday at 1 p.m. at Trapper Field.