Posted at 2 p.m., Nov. 12, 2013


Focused footwork:
Sophomore Fernando Perez drives the ball down field Oct. 11 in a 3–0 win against Western Nebraska Community College.

Photo by Daniel Herring

It’s a family thing

By Vycktoryja Selves
Photo Editor

Laramie County Community College Golden Eagles’ men’s soccer teams ended the season with a bittersweet loss during the Region IX tournament in La Junta, Colo. In the last game of the playoffs, LCCC lost to Otero Junior College 2–1 on Oct. 27.

LCCC started as the No. 1 seed and won against Western Nebraska Community College in a 9-0 shutout Oct. 25 and another 2–0 shutout against North Idaho College Oct. 26. Prior to the tournament the team had a running winning streak of five games.

In the first half of the Oct. 27’s game Otero scored two quick goals. Just before the first half ended, LCCC’s Domey Espinoza scored a goal with the assist of Jesse Molina.

During the second half, LCCC changed its strategy, but in the end, the win went to Otero. “Overall, we had a good offense and defense, but in that last game some unlucky things happened,” freshman forward Cory Center said.

This was not the first time Otero Junior College and LCCC shared the same field. On Sept. 14, the Golden Eagles won 1–0 and then lost 2–0 on Oct. 4. “They’re an even match,” head Coach Vince Gibson said.

Otero pushed the Golden Eagles to do their best. Even though the team did not win the last tournament game against Otero, Coach Gibson said that throughout over the season, “they got better at being hard workers.”

In the beginning of their season, the Golden Eagles started out on a rough patch with one tie and three loses. After winning their fourth game of the season against North Idaho College on Sept. 8, the team had a winning streak of eight games.

Two losses against Otero Junior College and Trinidad State Junior College put a temporary pause to the streak.

The Eagles started up again by winning another seven games afterward. As a team, the Golden Eagles ranked No. 2 in corner kicks with 123 points and No. 4 in shots with 376 points in division I.

Throughout the season, Brandon Flores made seven goals for the team, followed by Espinoza and Willy Salamanca with six goals each. Assisting them were Dennis Vivar-Diaz with seven assists and Molina with six. Goalkeepers Daniel Ainsworth and Taylor Ruff stood guard between the opposing teams and the net with 38 and 31 saves.

 

This year, the team had 54 goals, which were spread among multiple players instead of just one player scoring most of them. “They worked hard for each other every game,” Coach Gibson said.

Come spring graduation, LCCC will say goodbye to its Golden Eagles’ men’s soccer team captains Fernando Perez, Molina and Wyatt Witty.

On and off the field, they encouraged their teammates and communicated well with the coaches.
On their own time, the captains met to discuss better ways to help their team. “I was really proud of our three captains. It was nice to see their different leadership qualities,” Gibson said.

The worst weather the team played in was in Chicago, with high temperatures and high humidity, an uncommon factor for soccer players practicing in Wyoming.

Throughout the season, grades were an important factor to the whole team. Players must meet weekly with an academic adviser. Coaches conduct classroom checks to make sure players are attending class and have a team rule that they must sit in the first two rows of class with mandatory study hall twice a week.

“School comes first, soccer second,” Coach Gibson said. “GPA wise, they know why they’re here.”

Recruiting strategy pays off

The Golden Eagles’ coaches will be on the recruiting trail for the next few months to seek players from different states.

After visiting various schools, the coaches will invite potential players to an on-campus camp during December. While recruits visit, the coaches will give tours of the LCCC campus and train the students inside the gym.

During recruiting last year, Coach Gibson looked for “blue collar” players. These type of players work hard as a team to win games and progressively become better.

“We weren’t looking for the all-stars but for the team players,” Gibson said.

The players agreed with his choice of new players, “We were more of a family this year,” sophomore forward captain Molina said.

Spring training starts Feb. 1, with training twice a week. The team will play five games against various four-year schools in Colorado throughout the spring to keep in shape for the next fall semester.

 

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