CHEYENNE – The Laramie County Community College men’s soccer hasn’t been starting its recent contests with the execution it would like.
Regardless, those games resulted in wins. On Saturday afternoon, the seventh-ranked Golden Eagles scored two first half goals in a 2-0 win over visiting Casper College. But LCCC coach Vince Gibson still knows his team can come out with more force.
“I felt like we started a little slow again … we did come out with some firepower and defending-wise with pressure, but I felt like we didn’t execute very well,” Gibson said. “(We) outshot them, of course, but we didn’t execute very well and get it in the back of the net.
“There were at least two more (goals) I thought we could have had in the second half. We have to be stronger and focus on finishing and not just shooting, but finishing.”
That rang true in the opening minutes of the contest, as well. The Eagles controlled possession early and saw three shots in the first 12 minutes of the contest – including a Bryan Vazquez shot that went just right of the frame.
LCCC (11-1-1 overall, 6-0-1 Region IX) finally managed to get on the board when Carlos Vargas took advantage of a quality look to score his 11th goal of the season and give the Eagles a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
The Eagles doubled up the lead in the 30th when redshirt sophomore Tanner Smith received a cross from Noe Ortiz-Pena from the right side of the field. Smith found himself virtually alone in front of the net for the second Eagles score in less than 10 minutes.
“It came from our high press which we’ve been working a lot on, which was really nice,” Smith said. “We got it to Noe wide and he sent a pretty nice ball just over the center backs head and it landed right at my feet.”
Casper struggled to get past the Eagles’ back line for most of the first half. The Thunderbirds didn’t have one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes and only tallied four shots during that span while the Eagles notched their fifth shutout of the season and fourth shutout in the last five games.
They’ve outscored their opponents 16-1 in those contests.
“I’m honestly so blessed to have my defense, they work so hard and work great as a unit together,” Eagles goalie Declan Domyan said. “They press when we need to press, we can slow down play and we really don’t allow a lot of teams a lot of chances. So, thankfully, I don’t have to make too many saves most of the time because they got my back.”
LCCC hosts Central Wyoming College at noon Monday for its final regular-season matchup. Smith claimed the Eagles haven’t reached their potential yet – which is a good sign that they’re continuing to reach that height as postseason approaches.
“We’re never going to be perfect and we’re still trying to get to that highest level we know we can get,” Smith said. “I think right now we’re in a really good spot as to our level and where we think we’ll be going into the postseason.”
LCCC 2, CASPER 0
Goals: LCCC, Vargas (unassisted), 23. LCCC, Smith (Ortiz-Pena), 30.
Shots: CC 6, LCCC 22. Shots on goal: CC 1, LCCC 9. Saves: CC 7 (Hofmann); LCCC 1 (Domyan).
Corner kicks: CC 2, LCCC 5. Offsides: CC 2, LCCC 1. Fouls: CC 9, LCCC 10. Yellow cards: CC 5 (Hoffman 38, Opoku 40, Hugo 62, Van Halderen 78, Gordon 90); LCCC 2 (Castruita 53, Barajas 90).