NWC Drops Pair To Sheridan, Gillette
As the 2017 Northwest College women’s soccer season winds down, the Lady Trappers are still in search of their first win of the season, dropping a pair of home games last week against Sheridan and Gillette.
Both contests were shutouts, with the Lady Generals racking up a 6-0 score and the Lady Pronghorns recorded a baker’s half-dozen, 7-0. The loss drops NWC to 0-8 on the season with two games to play.
SHERIDAN 6, LADY TRAPPERS 0
The last time the Lady Trappers squared off against Sheridan (5-2-1), the Lady Generals’ physical style of play caught NWC off guard, bruising their way to a 6-0 win. NWC head coach Jessica Lum said her team was better prepared on Sept. 27, though the score remained the same.
“I definitely don’t think it was as physical as the first game,” Lum said. “But I also think we were more prepared for it this time. Both mentally and physically, our players knew what to expect. We were definitely determined not to get pushed around.”
Both teams defended well in the first half, though Sheridan held the edge in scoring opportunities. The Lady Generals opened up the scoring in the 18th minute when Fortune Kede found the back of the net for her first of three goals on the day.
The Lady Trappers tightened up their defense after that, turning away Sheridan repeatedly until the 43rd minute. An Alexa Palmucci goal gave the Lady Generals a 2-0 lead going into the half.
“We actually played, in terms of our game, pretty well in the first half,” Lum said. “I thought our movement was better off the ball, and we created a lot more opportunities. We were getting back on defense as well as getting up in transition on offense.”
The Lady Trappers’ defense continued to play well to start the second half, right up to the 62nd minute, when Sheridan scored three goals in a fourminute span. Kede added her final goal for the Lady Generals at the 85-minute mark, ending the scoring for the game. Final score not withstanding, Lum said she was encouraged by the gains the team has made since the last match-up.
“I think our keeper [Katie Behrens] really had a great game,” Lum said. “She got nailed early on in the second half, and was repeatedly hit after that. She played through that, showed some toughness.”
Lum was also pleased with her midfield of Hiroko Sogabe and Frankie Cervantes.
“I thought both girls did a much better job of getting back and making those connections between the midfield to the offense,” Lum said. “Kayla Atkinson had a great game, as did Drew Groll. They played pretty physical in the back for us.”
GILLETTE 7, LADY TRAPPERS 0
Saturday’s game against Gillette proved a challenge as well, as a flu bug spreading throughout the NWC roster forced Lum and her team to make position adjustments. Despite struggling to play out of position, the Lady Trappers again defended well early.
“Overall, I think we could have won that game,” Lum said. “I think the first half we did a great job, we definitely played better soccer that half. They had more opportunities, but I think actually we played tough defense. We did a good job of moving the ball into their end of the field.”
The Lady Trappers held Gillette (5-5) scoreless until the 39th minute of the first half, when Lady Pronghorn Jessica Ryan beat keeper Behrens for the score. Ryan would score again just five minutes later, giving Gillette a 2-0 lead going into the half.
“I’m not really sure what happened there,” Lum said. “I think with the second goal, we were caught off guard, we weren’t as mentally prepared. After the half, the first 10 or 15 minutes were good, but then when they scored on us again, we just really let down.”
Gillette played physical, forcing the Lady Trappers to adjust their game.
“We needed to get the energy up and to score, and we were never really able to do that,” Lum said. “In terms of the way we played, possession and passing, I think we did a good job.”
NWC was missing Cervantes, requiring Lum to move players.
“The team has to adjust to that, and I definitely think that impacted our attacking ability,” Lum explained. “Despite that, I thought we played well.”
In the second half, Lum moved up Atkinson, a defender, to wing to try and create more scoring opportunities. Sophomore Holly Burley caught an elbow in the eye, effectively ending her game and creating further adjustments.
“Holly is the one who really creates opportunities for us, so losing her was big,” Lum said. “It made it more difficult to find our target players up front; she’s usually the one who does that for us. Injuries always affect the way the game is played, and it played a role in Saturday’s game, unfortunately.”
The Lady Pronghorns would score five times in the second half for the season sweep. NWC will now host conference leader Laramie County Community College (8-1) Saturday at Trapper Field — a team that dropped 10 goals on NWC last month.
With just two games left in the regular season, Lum said she wants the team to focus on playing to the best of their ability, and “finishing out the season with fun.”
“The final game against Western Wyoming is definitely winnable, but this next one will be our hardest. It’s the hardest team we play all season,” she said of LCCC. “But I think the girls are looking forward to playing at home and honoring the sophomores during Sophomore Night,” Lum said.