By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
Recent years have seen many struggles for the Moapa Valley High School Boys Soccer program. The team has had a hard time finding wins and momentum to build on. But the team has found its groove and a change in performance is still possible. Just a few weeks ago, the team ended its losing streak in league play with a big win against Sky Pointe. And this week, they found a new way to excite their home fans.
The first game of the week came on the road Monday, October 16, against Del Sol. The Dragons had beat the Pirates handily earlier in the year, leaving Moapa Valley in hopes of bouncing back. In the first half, the Pirates were playing fairly well, getting chances to score but couldn’t capitalize. Meanwhile, Del Sol was able to put the ball in the back of the net twice to carry a 2-0 lead into the half.
In the second half, on the other hand, the Pirates struggled offensively. They also gave up four goals on the other end and Del Sol would go on to win 6-0. Overall, Moapa was frustrated.
“Position-wise, in the first half we were in the right spots, but there was just no conviction in our ability to score,” said Head coach Jared Bushman. “We had the opportunities.”
Despite the loss, Bushman praised the performance of Dillon Clove, calling him an “animal” because of his ability to win balls all over the field.
In the second game of the week, the Pirates played at home against rival Boulder City: the last home game of the season. Moapa Valley pulled out all the stops to make sure the final game of the year would be an exciting one, complete with a packed cheering section, a halftime performance from Moapa Valley’s dance team, and a Pirate logo painted at center field. All that was left to finish the day was a victory.
The Pirates came out and performed to some of their best abilities of the season. With a goal scored in the first half, Moapa went up 1-0 going into the intermission, and were dominant on the defensive end.
In the second half, the Pirates would score once again to give themselves some insurance. The score would be 2-0 and it would stay that way as Moapa grabbed its second win of the year. The defense remained flawless. The goals were scored by Sebastean Gutierrez and Tom Rohde.
Bushman was ecstatic. “Josh Lee and Ramiro Corrales do a great job of organizing the back line but the big deal was the pressure from Bryan Robles who was moving up and pressuring,” he said.
Bushman continued praising various other pieces of his team, including junior Gabriel Hernandez. “He was an absolute monster in the middle of the field,” he said. “If he gave the ball up, he refused to stop. If the ball was given up, he was after it.”
In goal for the Pirates with the shutout was Tanner Johnson. Johnson has played the position for two straight seasons now and has yet to experience a shutout effort. Bushman was excited about Johnson’s performance.
“Every goalkeeper needs to experience a shutout,” he said. “He stood tall in that game. He didn’t let them get anything cheap or easy. He saved the shots he was supposed to and saved some that were hard. He was commanding the field and it was nice to see that from him.”