The Trappers (3-2-2) beat Northeastern Junior College after settling for ties against Sheridan and Western Nebraska.
Head coach Rob Hill said the Sept. 11 tie against Sheridan was probably “our worst game of the season.”
Northwest tied the Generals, who are in their first year as a program, 2-2 in a home game that was stopped after one overtime because it was too dark to see. The Trappers held two leads in the game, 1-0 and 2-1, but twice gave up late goals.
“Once we got the lead we sat back and quit playing,” Hill said.
Northwest sophomore Matt Frost scored on a header early in the first half. The Trappers looked to go into halftime with a 1-0 lead but a defensive lapse gave Sheridan its first goal with only 14 seconds left to play in the first half.
Eight of the nine goals scored against the Trappers this season have come in the second half or overtime. The Generals’ last-minute equalizer is the lone first-half goal ceded by Northwest.
“Sheridan had a lot of heart and a lot of effort,” Hill said. “We just coasted in that game; it was a very poor performance.”
The Trappers regained the advantage early in the second half thanks to freshman Alex Abalan’s goal.
Northwest totalled nine shots on the Generals’ goal. Again, Sheridan waited until late to counter, scoring on a Hunter Reece shot in the game’s 84th minute.
Hill said he had some “choice words” with his team following the disappointing effort, and thinks his players responded well in the next two games.
Friday’s game against Western Nebraska ended in another draw, this time by the score of 1-1.
Northwest freshman midfielder Omar Garcia scored a skillful goal in the third minute of the match.
Garcia received the ball from sophomore defender Nate Hunt and then fought through multiple tackles to get enough space to place the ball in the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.
“It was a good goal and I’m sure he was happy because he missed an (open shot) against Sheridan,” Hill said.
Western Nebraska answered in the second half with a goal in the game’s 57th minute.
There normally would have been time for the Trappers to get a game-winner but the match was called in the 70th minute. Clouds and the preceding double-overtime women’s game left the men with little light for their game.
“It was disappointing because it was a good game against them,” Hill said. “It was pretty even.”
Northwest got five shots on goal while sophomore Trapper goalie Erik Wehse stopped seven of the eight shots he faced.
“We had a couple opportunities we should have put away,” Hill said. “It would have been interesting to see after 90 minutes where we would have come out on that one.”
The Trappers finally came out on top against Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo.
Sophomore forward Wyatt Fabrizio (15th minutes) and freshman midfielder Matt Lowndes (82nd minute) scored for Northwest in a 2-1 victory over the Plainsmen.
Hill said his squad dominated the first half and should have scored four or five goals. While he was pleased with the win, he disliked the dangerous level of physical play that prevailed.
“We were glad to get the win and get out of there,” Hill said.
Each team had a player ejected, five Northeastern players were given yellow cards and one Northwest player received a yellow.
“If we’re going to win or lose a game we want to do it by soccer, not by getting players injured or getting players sent out,” Hill said.
The two teams play again Oct. 4 at Northwest College in what Hill hopes doesn’t turn into a grudge match.
“There’s never been any history (between the teams),” Hill said. “We’re here to play soccer. I’m hoping that there’s a better handle of it ... because someone’s going to get injured and that’s not what you want to happen.”
Keeper Lewis Kirtley started for the Trappers and made four saves in 75 minutes before a back injury forced him to be replaced by Wehse, who made two saves in his 15 minutes.
“When Erik came in he made a couple of big saves for us,” Hill said.
The Trappers are two games into their six-game road trip, the longest such trip on the schedule.
“It’s going to be our toughest test on the season,” Hill said. “It’s going to be a real test of character for them the next two weekends.”
Northwest will face Otero Junior College, which Hill said is especially tough at home, Friday at 7 p.m. Then the Trappers hop back on the bus and ride an hour and a half away to Trinidad, Colo., to take on Trinidad State.