Ladies nab first conference win

By: 
Sonja Karp, Sports Editor

The Lady Dogie soccer team definitively secured their first conference win of the season Saturday in Rawlins as they downed the Lady Outlaws for the second time in two weeks, by a score of 4-1. After defeating them 4-0 at the Pinedale Jamboree in the opening weekend of play, head coach Jessie Stearns was pleased with the repeat win, however admitted that the score could have been much more lopsided.

“We should have won by a lot more because we had so many opportunities,” Stearns said. “However, we did a good job in the middle which was a problem last time, so we appear to have solved our issues there.”

Newcastle dominated the Outlaws, possessing the ball for most of the contest and taking around 30 shots with over half of those being on frame. 

“We played really well, but we just couldn’t finish on a lot of our opportunities,” Stearns began. “Mack [Conzelman] had so many shots that were just inches wide of the net.”

Conzelman got the Lady Dogies on the board first with about 14 minutes ticked off the clock in the first half. Gabby McVay played a ball over the top of their back line, Conzelman ran onto it, took one touch, then shot with her left foot and it found the bottom right corner of the goal.

McVay scored next for the Lady Dogies about four minutes later by taking advantage of a free kick opportunity from about 30 yards out. 

Rawlins had made a change to their lineup from the last time the two teams met, moving Jessie Jerome into the goal. She hadn’t been their keeper, but stands 6 feet tall and is a skilled front row player in volleyball, so the Lady Outlaws decided to take advantage of those attributes to try to keep Newcastle out of the goal. 

On McVay’s shot attempt, Jerome timed her jump wrong and was coming back down to the ground as the ball sailed over her fingertips into the back of the net.

“I don’t know how it snuck in under the crossbar, because it was so close to hitting it,” Stearns said. “That was really cool.”

The two goals had Newcastle on top 2-0 going into the half, and the squad maintained their momentum by coming out in the second half strong, scoring within the first couple of minutes of play. 

Once again, it was McVay with the assist as she threw it in from about 23 yards away from the goal. Her toss landed behind the Lady Outlaw’s back line where Zariah Ward was able to take a touch with her right and played it low on the ground to take advantage of the height of the keeper, and the ball sailed right by her into the back of the net. 

“I was really happy to see how
we came out of the half,” Stearns said. “Sometimes we tend to be a little bit sluggish, so that was a nice improvement.”

Conzelman bookended the game by scoring the final goal of the contest for her team. This time, Newcastle had a throw-in at around the 18-yard mark of their defensive end of the field. McKenzie Rose threw the ball in to McVay who dropped it to Mia Peterson who was standing on the 18-yard line. Peterson then sent a clearance ball all the way down the field over the Outlaws back line, Conzelman ran onto it, took two touches and sent it right past Jerome.

The one goal that Rawlins was able to score came with about five minutes remaining in the contest and as a result of a free kick which was awarded to the Lady Outlaws after a handball call against the Lady Dogies. 

“This was a situation that actually showed a weakness of Angel [Perez], and it’s one that she can’t do anything about,” Stearns explained. “She was just a couple of inches too short as her block was right on, and she jumped, but the ball just skimmed the top of her fingertips and into the back of the net.”

“I was really pleased with how many shots we were able to get, so now we just need to work on finishing when we have those opportunities,” Stearns reflected. “It was also nice to see that many assists. We were moving the ball and passing really well.” 

This week the Lady Dogies face off against Douglas for another conference match-up. The Lady Bearcats defeated Rawlins 7-0 last week, but Stearns feels like her girls could easily have had more against the Lady Outlaws. 

“We’re excited to play Douglas,” Stearns said. “We know that if we can contain the middle better against them, it should be much more competitive than when we played them in Pinedale. 

The Lady Dogies have definitely improved their game in the mid-field since their 0-3 loss against the Lady Cats two weeks ago, and will kick off for a rematch at 4 p.m. on Thursday at Schoonmaker Field.

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