Trapper Men Will Try To Snap Seven-Game Skid At USUE In First Round
If there was ever a perfect time to snap a seven-game losing streak, it would be Saturday.
The Northwest College men’s soccer team (6-9, 3-5 in Region IX) qualified for the third seed in the North Division of the Region IX tournament despite not having won a game since Sept. 23.
NWC head coach Rob Hill said Saturday’s playoff game against the Utah State University Eastern, the South Division’s No. 2 seed, represents a chance to right all of the wrongs of the past month.
“We’ve got a chance to put all the losses aside,” Hill said. “We’ll get them prepared all week and we’ll work them hard, and when they cross that line on Saturday it will be down to them. They’ll have to decide who they want to be and what kind of season they want to have.”
It will have been more than a month since the Trappers’ last win when they take on the Golden Eagles at 2 p.m. Saturday in Price, Utah.
The “do-or-die” match will test the Trappers’ focus and mental fortitude, Hill said.
“I don’t know how they’re going to respond to this. I really don’t,” Hill said. “It will be interesting to see if they’re mentally tough enough to handle it.”
The Trappers shut out USUE 2-0 in their season opener on Aug. 29, but the Golden Eagles are 9-3 since then, including a 2-1 win against Northwest in Price on Oct. 2.
“We obviously know where their strengths are. Both teams will know where each is strong and weaker. It should be a pretty good game,” Hill said.
Utah finished the season 11-5-1 despite scoring just 1.9 goals per game.
The Eagles’ penchant for playing low-scoring contests could benefit the Trappers, who have struggled on offense at times this season (1.6 goals per game). Northwest scored more than one goal only twice during its current losing streak. However, four of those losses came in one-goal games.
The most recent one-goal loss came in heartbreaking fashion Friday in Powell.
The Trappers lost 3-2 in the final seconds to Trinidad State (10-7-1, 5-4), after mounting a two-goal second-half lead.
Trinidad’s Filip Cvetinovic scored in the 90th minute to complete the Trojans’ comeback, which required three goals in a 20-minute span.
Mitchell Pinney opened the scoring in the 11th minute off a pass from Eddie Asamoah.
The early goal stood as the only first-half score, and the Trappers enjoyed a halftime lead for the first time since going up 2-0 halfway through a 4-3 win over Western Nebraska in Powell on Sept. 19.
Travis Hopkins put the Trappers up 2-0 with an unassisted goal just one minute into the second half, firmly putting the momentum in Northwest’s corner.
But as has happened too often for the Trappers, they seemed comfortable with their lead and Trinidad eventually made them pay.
“That’s what happens when you get satisfied and settled,” Hill said.
Cvetinovic scored his first goal in the 70th minute, and Saad Hissien notched the equalizer just two minutes later.
NWC keeper Nate Snyder made six saves in the one-goal loss.
The Trappers followed Friday’s letdown with a 3-0 shutout loss to Otero (13-4, 9-3) in the regular-season finale that meant nothing in terms of playoff position for each team.
Northwest generated just four shots on goal, despite often pushing the ball deep into the final third of the field.
Otero’s Jose Castro scored in the fifth minute of the game to immediately put the Trappers on their heels, and a second goal by Malik Mennana five minutes before halftime gave the Rattlers a two-goal lead that seemed like four.
Tristan Hugo scored in the 85th minute to ice the game for the Rattlers.
Northwest keeper Alex Basulto stopped six of the nine shots he faced.
The Trappers had four corner kicks, to the Rattlers’ six.
TIE NOT ENOUGH AS WOMEN ARE ELIMINATED
The Northwest College women’s soccer team mounted an impressive comeback, but fell just short of a win and the playoffs Friday afternoon.
The Trappers scored two goals in a three-minute span midway through the second half to earn a 2-2 tie against Trinidad State. A third goal, which could have earned the Trappers a playoff berth, never came.
“We had them,” Hill said. “There were two chances that were ... so easy they were hard to miss. But that’s how it goes sometimes.
“I was proud of them for coming back from 2-0 down.”
Northwest fell behind 2-0 in the 50th minute, but did not sit idle as the season wound down.
Sami Heimer scored in the 65th minute and assisted on Katie Hoff’s goal two minutes later as the Trappers came roaring back.
Northwest managed eight shots on goal (to Trinidad’s 10), but couldn’t score the one that would prolong the season.
Freshman keeper Raven Johnson made a season-high nine saves to keep Northwest’s hopes alive.
Trinidad scored in the 40th minute of the first half.
The Trappers (5-8-1, 5-6-1 Region IX) were technically still in postseason contention on Saturday, but a 5-1 loss to Otero, and Sheridan’s forfeit (due to lack of players) to Trinidad officially cemented their fate.
Sophomore Ellen Hunsaker tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth minute, but it was all Otero from that point on. The Rattlers (12-2 2) tacked on goals in the 25th, 30th, 52nd and 70th minutes to run away with the four-goal win.
The Trappers finished the season with barely half the team that debuted in August.
“We started off with 21, 22 players,” Hill said. “On Saturday we had 13.”
Injuries kept the Trappers shorthanded all season, and even forced two keepers to play on the field.
Hill joked he would recruit 35 players in response to what he called the most injury-plagued season he’s ever experienced.