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Final tune-up

Wildcats drop last game before league season begins

Posted: January 8, 2009 8:56 p.m.
Updated: January 9, 2009 4:30 a.m.

West Ranch's Jacob Jordan, right, battles for possession against a Littlerock player on Thursday afternoon at West Ranch High. The Wildcats lost 2-1.

A year ago, West Ranch jumped right into league play after the long holiday layoff, and the rust showed.

The Wildcats are hoping history doesn't repeat itself.

They might have taken a step in the right direction despite falling to Littlerock 2-0 on Thursday, because the Wildcats got a chance to sharpen their play heading into the Foothill League schedule.

"I want to get the kinks out," said West Ranch head coach Mo Burgess. "It happens to every team around here at Christmas break. It happened last year. We walked right from break into a league game and got surprised."

Six starters missed the game for various reasons, including vacation and injury, but West Ranch (5-3-3) should be at full strength in its league opener against Canyon on Tuesday.

Thursday afternoon, however, the Wildcats started several reserves and brought up several junior varsity players to fill spots on the bench. West Ranch controlled possession, and Littlerock seemed disorganized for much of the game, but the Lobos still countered effectively.

Littlerock notched its first goal on a header off a corner kick around the 20-minute mark, and the score seemed to deflate West Ranch for the rest of the half.

The second half saw the Wildcats continue to create chances offensively. They were helped by puzzling strategy on the part of Littlerock, which had its wing defenders hugging the sidelines, and West Ranch sent several nice balls to its strikers through the gaps.

The last touch, however, eluded West Ranch's grasp on several occasions in the second half.

"There are times we lapse, and then at times we looked nice and at that last edge, it just falls apart," Burgess said. "It's soccer. Sometimes it just falls apart, and today was one of those days."

West Ranch's Jordan Eagle received a nice through-ball toward the end of the game on the right wing, but the cross went right to the keeper. Shortly after, Jacob Jordan made a run into the box with the ball but pushed a shot wide of the net.

Littlerock added an insurance goal with two minutes to play, and even though his team couldn't find the back of the net, Burgess is confident heading into league play.

"Soccer goes in runs," he said. "We get shut out today, and that means you'll get a couple goals when you shouldn't later on. You've got to keep it that way in your mind. It's better that it happens now than later on."


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