Alert: Our February 19 Scholarship Day event has been cancelled due to inclement weather/travel conditions in the region.
Varian’s Goal Off Corner Kick Accounts For Lone NWC Score
The Northwest College men’s soccer team traveled to Sheridan Tuesday, opening their conference schedule with a 1-1 tie against Sheridan College.
“The game was a little flat,” said NWC head coach Stan Rodrigues. “In all fairness, I didn’t feel like Sheridan was very threatening. I feel like we kind of played down; both teams were kind of flat.”
Cody’s Johnny Varian accounted for the Trappers’ lone goal off a corner kick by Sergio Santamarina. The Generals answered with a goal of their own, and regulation ended in a 1-1 tie. While both teams had scoring opportunities in each of the two overtime periods, the game would end in a stalemate.
“When we scored, the intensity went up a little,” Rodrigues said. “We went into overtime, and in both overtimes, I think we should have been able to finish the game quickly — we had good chances. We should have won the game, but at the same time, driving four hours one way and getting off the bus and play to a tie in someone else’s home is respectable in our conference.”
Rodrigues said the Trappers felt the loss of forward Daniel Lobera, who was sitting out a suspension for a red card incurred against Western Nebraska Community College last week. The first-year coach said he was pleased with his team’s focus and fitness.
“I really liked the dedication of the boys to play a little bit looser,” Rodrigues said. “And our fitness showed that we are in good shape. I also feel like we were trying to be more positive and play on the front foot.”
Trapper defenseman Edgar Meza had a fantastic game as an outside back, according to Rodrigues.
“We had other guys rise up and play well, but there was spotty bits of energy amongst the rest of the crew,” Rodrigues said. “We need to all play at that level. The top 11 and three or four guys off the bench need to give the same amount of energy.”
He praised Malachy Sundstrum and Jay Younger for making an impact in Lobera’s absence.
“Both Malachy and Jay were vital in the attack,” Rodrigues said. “Both of them had many chances to finish [Tuesday], but you can’t ask for too much of a couple of guys coming off the injured reserve. But those guys were vital today.”
NWC travels to Gillette Friday to take on the Longhorns. Between now and then, Rodrigues said the team will work on identifying aspects of the game they need to improve on — and that includes coaching.
“In my opinion, I just need to be a better coach. I need to work harder,” he said. “It’s identifying things I thought were common sense, but to the team, those things need to be coached more.”
Rodrigues is hoping to have Lobera back against Gillette, but as of press time, he had not heard a final verdict from league officials.
Gillette will pose an interesting challenge, as the first-year program is benefitting from a strong recruiting class. Rodrigues said it will be a good early season test for the Trappers, now 1-1-1 on the season.
“You never know who has what at the junior college level; every year is a new recruiting season,” Rodrigues said. “But I have to expect the best out of everybody, and then hope we can get to that level. Or, bring our best, and maybe they’ll falter a little and we’ll get the advantage. I think Gillette is going to be very good regardless of being a first-year program. No one wants to lose, and everybody likes to fight. That’s what I’m going to expect.”