Avoid Season Sweep To Golden Eagles
When the Laramie County Community College men’s soccer team traveled to Powell last month to take on Northwest College, goals were at a premium, at least for the home team.
The Golden Eagles’ squad left Trapper Field with a 2-0 shutout victory, leaving the Trappers to ponder their missed opportunities.
Fast-forward a month, and NWC traveled to Cheyenne over the weekend, looking to earn a measure of redemption. Unfortunately, goals continued to elude the Trappers, but the Trappers were able to earn a 0-0 tie in overtime.
“It’s good, but it’s frustrating,” said NWC men’s head coach Bobby Peters. “We’re doing the things we need to do to win. We just can’t find the back of the net.”
The first time the two teams played, they combined for a whopping nine yellow cards. This time around, the game wasn’t as chippy, though the Trappers’ inability to score was again the story of the game. NWC just missed on a scoring opportunity in the game’s opening minutes, when a Sergio Santamarina shot went over the net.
“It was basically him [Santamarina] one-on-one with the keeper, but we just couldn’t make the goal,” Peters said. “We had points where our offense was coming too far into the midfield, which stagnated our attack. But overall, we played our gameplan to a T.”
The Golden Eagles nearly got on the board right before the end of the first half, but the goal was waved off due to an offside call. Marcus Olmos came up big for the Trappers in goal, finishing with seven saves and the shutout. Despite the offense’s goal-scoring drought, Peters said the team is creating opportunities.
“I like my teams to play an attacking style,” he explained. “The problem with that is with our team, we have a tendency to lose our form when we do that. Our players that are supposed to be holding don’t hold at the right time.”
Peters said he’s modified the system the team’s been playing, and it’s working, especially in the defensive end.
“We’ve conceded just one goal in the last 270 minutes,” he said. “And that one goal was off of one shot we allowed. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the way we’ve been playing — we’re just stuck at a point where we’re struggling to find goals.”
Some of NWC’s players seem to lack confidence, according to Peters, an issue the team is taking steps to resolve as the Region IX tournament looms on the horizon.
“I think some of our guys are in their own heads right now, and we’re going to spend the next few days working on exploring the space the other team gives them and find the goal. We should get there,” Peters said. “For me, this is a good thing — that scoring goals is the one thing that we have to work on. Our defense and midfield are solid. ... We have room to improve, and the good thing is we have the players to improve.”
Peters said the Trappers are finding their form defensively at the perfect time. Calling it “a championship-team defense,” players like midfielders Jonathan Reynoso and Alejandro Fernandes, centerback Rennan DaSilva and defenders Edgar Meza and Marshall Rhoades are leading the charge.
“Jonathan [Reynoso]’s a very dynamic player. I play him all over the field,” Peters said. “He’s gritty and he understands the game. He’s always thinking four or five steps ahead.”
With Meza and Rhoades, Peters said he’s moved the sophomores into new roles and changed up their style of play.
“Those two are 1 v. 1 defenders, they can defend 1 v. 1, sometimes 2 v. 1. They have the work ethic and they’re gritty,” Peters said. “I told the guys at the beginning of the year, I look for glass-eaters at times, and those two are it. You tell them to run through this guy and get the ball, that’s what they do, doesn’t matter if the guy’s 300 pounds and built like a truck. They’ll go and challenge for everything.”
Against LCCC, Rhoades took a ball to the face, coming off the field with his face covered in blood.
“He [Rhoades] gets two things shoved up his nose, and he’s right back out there,” Peters said. “It’s that toughness we were lacking in the backfield, and we picked it up with them.”
The Trappers played Western Wyoming Community College Wednesday for the final game of the season. “I think we’re setting ourselves up for a good spot. It just comes down to how we are mentally in these final games and how we execute our game plan,” Peters said. “We’re there, we can do it — we just have to hold those two parts together.”