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Dogies take two rough losses

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Photo by Stefanie Shirk/NLJ Ben Carter attempts to keep the ball from a Torrington Blazer.
Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor

The Dogies had a schedule of tough opponents to take on last week, beginning with the No. 1-ranked Torrington Trailblazers at home on Thursday, then they traveled to Buffalo on Saturday to take on the Bison. Head coach Sally Hoover’s squad played tough on Thursday, making the ‘Blazers fight for every one of their goals in their close 1-3 loss, then faltered on defense against the Bison, which Buffalo used to shut out Newcastle 5-0.

“We played really well against Torrington, ” Hoover said. “But then, we just seemed to be out of synch on Saturday against Buffalo. We weren’t covering our positions on defense the way we should have been, and were just not playing like we are capable of playing.”

In their first contest of the week, the Newcastle High School Dogies showed up to play against Torrington on Thursday as the Goshen County powerhouse team came to town.

“That was a fun game,” Hoover said. “The boys just played so well. They were connecting, reading the field and were just being where they needed to be, and working together, which was awesome to see.”

The game started a little scary for Newcastle, as Torrington was able to get on the board with just two minutes ticked off the clock.

Fortunately, the Dogies quickly made the adjustments they needed to in order to make the rest of the contest competitive.

With 21 minutes remaining in the first half, the Dogies evened the score at 1-1 when Gabe Hoover scored off of a free kick attempt by Zach Orsborn. Orsborn’s kick deflected off the sidebar, and Hoover was there to collect the ball and finish for the Dogies.

The remaining minutes of the half were scoreless for both squads, so they went into the half still knotted up at 1-1.

“Torrington plays a little different style than we do, and we adjusted for that,” said Hoover. “We shut down their fast kid, we were syncing and making sure we were covering well defensively. We just couldn’t get any of our shots to go in.”

Upon returning to the pitch, the ‘Blazers once again scored quickly to recapture the lead, 2-1. The Dogies rebounded to battle until with eight minutes remaining, Torrington found the back of the net for the final time to secure the 3-1 lead.

“Both of their goals in the second half were off of penalty kicks,” Hoover explained. “All year, we have struggled at not clearing those free kicks out, and we have to get better at that. Other than that, it was a great game and it was fun to watch us play like that, against them, especially.”

The Dogies ended the contest with 11 shots on goal, and Will Beastrom had an outstanding game in the goal, making 19 saves on the day.

According to Hoover, she and her squad knew just what to expect as they went into the game against the Bison in Buffalo on Saturday. However, the team that took the pitch against the ‘Blazers was not the same as the team who faced off against the Bison.

“I’m not sure what happened to us defensively,” Hoover said. “We were out of position constantly on defense, which is not like us at all.”

Before a minute had played off the clock, the Bison were able to capitalize on the Dogies being out of synch defensively to get on the board with the 1-0 lead.

“We weren’t reacting fast enough and they were too fast for us,” Hoover said. “We were just kind of standing and watching, and they just took advantage of that.”

The defensive let-down by the Dogies allowed two more goals by the Bison, then Buffalo got a fourth one into the net with 30 seconds to play in the half, taking the 4-0 lead at the mid-game break.

“The kid was off-sides, and the center ref saw it and wanted to call it,” Hoover said. “He was waiting for the AR to call it and he never did, but it is what it is.”

“The boys were frustrated at the half, and they were determined to play harder,” she continued. “They did that, but it still wasn’t necessarily good soccer.”

That they played harder is evidenced by the fact that the Bison were only able to add one goal to their lead in the remaining 40 minutes to finish with the 5-0 victory over Newcastle.

“We’ve got some things to fix, but I was glad to see the boys play harder in the second half,” Hoover said.

The Dogies ended this contest with 14 shots on goal, but just couldn’t finish on those opportunities. Beastrom finished the game with 12 saves on the day.

This week, the Dogies have only one game to focus on as they work to turn things around on Saturday in Worland where they will take on the No. 2-ranked Warriors in another conference match-up.

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