ROCK SPRINGS – It was a good start to the season for the Western Wyoming Community Soccer teams as both teams avoided the loss column. The ladies used a strong start to take and 3-0 win while the men fought back to finish in a tie.
The ladies of WWCC finished the preseason on the right foot and looked strong again to open the season. The teams welcomed Northeastern who brought a lot of unknowns to the table with a change at the head coaching position. Head Coach Jeff Atkinson said he hoped the team would get after it from the start and they did just that.
Both first-half goals for the Mustang ladies would come in the first 20 minutes. It would be Alyssia Lee who would score the first goal of the season for WWCC. Right around the 20-minute mark in the first half, former RSHS Tiger Madisyn Cantrell would make it two. For the final 20 minutes of the half, the teams played even. Atkinson said he felt the ladies got a little complacent with the lead at the end of that first half.
In the second half, it was Lee again. She scored her second goal of the season on a penalty kick. From there, the Mustangs controlled the tempo and the pace. Atkinson singled out the team’s defense noting this is their second shut-out in a row and it has been over 200 minutes of play without giving up a goal.
Overall, the coach was happy with the play. He said the ladies “found a lot of feet” with a lot of nice passing. This setup opportunities for the Mustangs.
WWCC Men 2, Northeastern 2
Western was a little flat in its last scrimmage and started the season opener with a little bad luck. An early call had Northeastern firing a penalty kick for the first goal of the game. A lack of confidence played a big role in the first half as Atkinson said the Mustangs had a “hard time realizing how good they are.” This allowed Northeastern to dominate the action for most of the first half.
On the downside of the first half, Victor Gonzalez got things rolling for the Mustangs. Not only did he even the score, but seemed to spark men of Western.
Northeastern also noted the newly found energy and tried to extinguish the spark. A high curving shot from Northeastern found the back of the goal right before the half. Atkinson said there was nothing anyone could do to stop that shot and even told the opposing player how good it was after the game.
However, the shot did not slow the Mustangs and they opened strong in the second half. They controlled the offense and 15 minutes in evened the game. It would be Briston Lowell’s first goal of the season that would square the match up at two.
Western continued to control the offense and had several opportunities but could not find the back of the net. It was not until late in the second half and in the overtime period that Northeastern found space for shots. Atkinson said they had mounted one offensive attack in the second overtime period that had him a little worried but other than that the defense looked solid.
It’s back to work for the teams on Saturday as they play host to Utah State University – Eastern. Action gets underway at Crossroads Park at 11 a.m. with the ladies followed by the men at 1:30 p.m. The teams then hit the road for matches against Northwest on Sept. 2 in Powell and Sheridan College in Sheridan on Sept. 3. They follow it with two games in Green River.