Trappers beat NIC 2-1 in season opener

Goals for Fernandes, Sweckard; two assists for Carrenho

Posted 8/20/19

The Northwest College men’s soccer team took the pitch on Wednesday for its first outing the season, beating visiting North Idaho College 2-1 at Trapper Field.

Twenty-eight of the 32 players …

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Trappers beat NIC 2-1 in season opener

Goals for Fernandes, Sweckard; two assists for Carrenho

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The Northwest College men’s soccer team took the pitch on Wednesday for its first outing the season, beating visiting North Idaho College 2-1 at Trapper Field.

Twenty-eight of the 32 players on the active roster saw playing time during the scrimmage; head coach Ben McArthur won’t be lonely on the sidelines this season, as a boisterous bench cheered on their teammates for the duration of the game.

“It was a good start for us, a good place to jump off from,” McArthur said. “We’re a deep team, so we were able to play a lot of guys. That was good for us to be able to play so many guys and still play at a high level.”

The Trappers had the requisite first-game jitters early, but were able to settle in fairly quickly. It was a scoreless first half, as both teams worked out the kinks in search of a rhythm. McArthur has three goalkeepers on the roster in sophomores Arthur Lopes and Colson DeCarlo and freshman Ryan Bevins.

“All three goalkeepers played 30 minutes, and they all played well,” McArthur said. “Some little things that each one of them will need to continue to work on as we move forward in our season and try to iron out who’s going to be our starter and who’s going to be the backups.”

On the offensive side, the Trappers were able to generate plenty of scoring opportunities — though McArthur said he’d like to see more.

“I’d like to generate even more chances, I’d like to see us score more goals,” he said. “We scored two goals, but I would have liked it if we had scored five. But we had chances. I think we need to continue improving on the final third of the field, the attacking third. We need to improve our decision making and clean things up a little bit.”

McArthur called his defense “mostly organized,” though there were one or two hiccups along the way.

“We got lucky NIC didn’t punish us on those hiccups,” he said. “But for the most part, the defense was organized — that’s a process as well. It’s just a matter of coming together and learning how to trust each other as teammates.”

Alex Fernandes finally broke the 0-0 stalemate in the second half, scoring the Trappers’ first goal of the season on an assist by Marco Carrenho. NIC answered a short time later to bring the game back to even on what McArthur called a “defensive lapse.” However, the coach was impressed by how his team responded following the goal.

“That’s always the big question, ‘How are we going to react?’” he said. “But we reacted well, got back to being aggressive. We got back on the attack and were able to score another goal.”

Freshman Sawyer Sweckard from Douglas scored what turned out to be the gamewinner on another assist by Carrenho.

“We knew what Sweckard was capable of coming out of high school, and he’s done well,” McArthur said. “He’s settling in now as a freshman, but I anticipate him having a really big sophomore season. But it was nice to see him score his first college goal.”

After two weeks of practice and the first game under the team’s belt, McArthur said the biggest challenge for him as a coach has been getting as many players active and engaged as possible. With such a large and diverse roster, McArthur has help in the form of Powell High School head boys’ soccer coach Dave Gilliatt, a long-time assistant coach at NWC; McArthur said Gilliatt has been instrumental in helping him assess the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

“I really have to be mindful of how many guys we have and what drills we’re running: how do I get as many guys active as possible at the same time and still have the quality of the session be high?” McArthur said. “Having Dave [Gilliatt] coming out and helping in the afternoon has been a blessing there as well.”

Training sessions have gone smoother, according to McArthur, as players have adjusted to their new coach’s style of play. The international players are starting to get settled in, and the new coach is pleased with how quickly the team is starting to gel.

“With this many guys, especially with these first couple of scrimmages, it’s all about learning who can play where, for one,” McArthur said. “Then it’s about finding who plays well with each other. We speak five different languages at practice, but the common denominator is English. But it’s been really good in terms of that.”

The Trappers will be at home Saturday for a game against NWC alumni, and McArthur said he should have a good idea of what his starting lineup will look like. Until then, he’ll continue to move guys around until he finds the right fit.

“Hopefully we can continue to build on what we did against NIC,” he said.

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