By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
The playoff race is becoming tighter and tighter in the Division 3A girls soccer competition. Right in the thick of it, the Pirates are competing with a few other schools for first place. Those schools include SECTA, and Moapa’s very own rival Virgin Valley.
The Bulldogs had traveled into Moapa and played a tough game earlier in the year, ending in a 2-2 tie. This time, the Pirates went to Mesquite for what would be a critical game for both sides.
In the first half, the Bulldogs stunned the Pirates, scoring two goals early on. The Pirates just weren’t the same team that the fans had grown accustomed to in recent weeks.
“We did not come out the way we should have,” said Moapa head coach Lisa Cornwall. “They came out fast and aggressive and it threw us off.”
At the half, the Pirates would still trail 2-0. Cornwall explained the talk she gave to the team before the start of the second period.
“At halftime, we talked and I asked if they were playing their hardest, and they knew that they needed to change some things,” the Pirates coach said.
The team responded to the halftime challenge and made a few adjustments. In addition, MVHS junior, Lainey Cornwall was moved into the midfield.
With this change in mentality, the Pirates came out strong. Christie Eriksen scored for the Pirates, and she would also go on to have an assist on a goal scored by Ashlyn Western.
The two goals tied the game at 2-2, the same score that stood when the two teams had met a few weeks earlier.
Neither side could break that tie so the game would end at 2-2. The comeback was exciting for the Pirates, but the result carried its equal share of positives and negatives.
“It’s so hard to come back from a 2-0 deficit,” Cornwall said. “They showed a lot of grit there. But we can’t wait a whole half to get started up. We have to figure that out so it doesn’t happen again. Overall, they showed a lot of composure to come back.”
Looking forward, Cornwall is excited about her team’s potential as they enter this difficult stretch at the end of the year and into the playoffs. “I think they’re focused,” she said. “They really have a goal in mind but are approaching each game with the same attitude and aren’t discounting anybody. We have to come out hard and play our best game. Every win, to us, secures our spot. We need a win every time.”
The team has games against potential playoff contenders approaching. These include matchups with Sky Pointe and Boulder City, and a season finale showdown with top seeded SECTA. Thus the coming weeks will be interesting.
“They’re pulling for it,” Cornwall said. “It’s right there, so they want that first spot. These next two weeks are going to be crazy. It’s going to be exciting.”
Cornwall praised the team’s chemistry as a big strength. “I think they’re just working really hard together,” she said. “They have learned to utilize each other as far as knowing each other’s strengths. They’ve played together for a while so they know how each other play.”
More excitement surrounds this team than they’ve seen in a long time. Because of this, fans have been coming to each and every game and cheering on the Pirates. Cornwall was ecstatic about the community support, saying, “When you have that (support), it gives you the extra little push. For many years, we didn’t have it, so we really appreciate it now that it’s there.”