State tournament slips from Dogies’ grasp

By: 
Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor

Aidan Chick

Last week was a big one for the Dogie soccer team in their hunt for a state berth. With only two weeks remaining of the regular season, head coach Elyse Dickey’s crew needed a win over Rawlins, and getting one on Torrington would have given them a huge boost in moving up to the No. 4 seed in the East Conference, thereby earning a spot in the tournament. 

On Tuesday, the Torrington Trailblazers denied the Dogies a victory, shutting them out 9-0, and on Saturday — despite 20 overtime minutes — the Outlaws held Newcastle to only one goal and ended the contest in a 1-1 tie. Though not a loss, the tie denied the Dogies the points they would need to edge into fourth regardless of how they finish the regular season.

“It wasn’t the way we wanted the week to turn out,” Dickey admitted. “But the guys worked hard and did some good things.”

The Dogies started out their week of competition in Torrington against the No. 4-ranked ‘Blazers without starting goalkeeper Hayden Overman, who suffered a concussion in the Douglas game last week and had not yet cleared the concussion protocol. As such, sophomore William Beastrom had to step up against a fast and talented ‘Blazer squad.

“William had some really tough one-on-ones which are just hard to block no matter who you are,” Dickey said. “He was thrown in the deep end, so he did a really good job.”

The ‘Blazers started a senior heavy offensive line who are not only fast, but also talented, and they were able to get three goals against the Dogies in the first half of play. The Dogies had their chances as well, however, as they got off four shots on goal throughout the contest, but were unable to find the back of the net.

“We did a pretty good job of attacking and connecting and staying out wide,” Dickey said. “When we did that, we were able to create an opportunity to get a good shot off.” 

In the first half, Torrington had been called several times on off-sides violations, but in the second half they cleaned up their attack which resulted in several one-on-ones with Beastrom in the goal.

The ‘Blazers took advantage of their opportunities to run the score up to 9-0 by the time the clock ticked down to zero.

“They got quite a few through balls to create those scoring opportunities in the second half,” Dickey explained. “They also left their starters in pretty much the whole game and
their best player was in the whole time.”

Despite the lopsided score, Beastrom was able to save 12 attempts by Torrington. 

The loss upped the ante for the Rawlins game on Saturday, as it was now imperative that the Dogies get a win over the Outlaws to extend the chance for a state tournament berth. 

Though the Outlaws bring a great deal of speed to the pitch, Newcastle controlled the contest for nearly the entirety of the contest, and got off 10 on-frame shots on goal.

Rawlins got on the scoreboard first, with just four minutes ticked off the clock on a pretty amazing corner kick opportunity. 

“Their goal was insane!” Dickey said. “They scored directly off a corner kick with a really pretty, top-of-the-goal shot where the ball just curved right into the back corner.” 

In the remaining 36 minutes of the first half, both teams were held scoreless so the Dogies went into halftime down 1-0, therefore the need to score escalated.

When they returned to the pitch for the second half, the Dogies continued to dominate possession of the ball, and finally got on the board to tie things up when Aidan Chick had the ball and was attacking the goal, however he got taken out. 

The Dogies immediately took over possession and Mads Svensson sent the ball back to Chick who was just recovering and getting back on-sides. Chick got the pass, took one step and shot the ball into the corner to find the back of the net.

“We had many opportunities and there were also great opportunities that we had that we didn’t take,” Dickey said. “We were doing a great job of making connections and playing the ball out wide which is what we want to do, but even our middle game was pretty good.”

The end regulation saw the two teams still tied 1-1, so the contest went into overtime. The Dogies still dominated possession in the remaining 20 minutes of play, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Overman was back in the net as keeper and he racked up 12 saves on the day.

The loss means that the Dogies can’t move into fourth place and state tournament contention, however Dickey and her team are determined to finish out their season strong this week on the road. They traveled to Douglas for a rematch against the Bearcats on Tuesday and will go to Riverton for round two against the Wolverines on Saturday.

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