Snow soccer season begins with both teams ranked

HENDERSON—Soccer season has finally begun for Snow College.

The Badgers’ men’s and women’s soccer teams got started on the new-look spring soccer season delayed by the pandemic, beginning with a trip to Nevada as the men’s team tied Arizona Western College, 0-0, on Friday last week to start their season, then took down Southern Nevada, 2-1, in an overtime game last Saturday for their first win.

They then fell in a high-scoring contest against No. 4 Salt Lake Community College, 5-3. They then defeated Truckee Meadows, a Region 18 newcomer, in a 1-0 victory.

Meanwhile, the Lady Badgers started their season flawless with a 2-0 victory Arizona Western and a 1-0 win over Casper College. They then knocked out rival SLCC, 1-0, in double overtime and demolished Truckee Meadows, 6-0, last Saturday for a 4-0 opening record.

Both of Snow’s soccer teams this year began the season in the NJCAA Top 25, with the women polling at No. 5 nationally while the men polled at No. 23. The men’s team climbed as high as No. 11 before their loss to SLCC.

“Top twenty ranking is nice, but it’s hard to determine the level at this stage,” Coach Charles Long said. “It also puts a target on our back with everyone we play.” Long is the coach of both the men’s and women’s teams.

The men’s team took on Southern Nevada in an early onset of Snow’s Region 18 schedule. Showcasing relentless attack, the Badgers took 16 total shots through the game, including an astounding 11 shots on goal, compared to only five shots on goal by the Coyotes.In the first half, Japanese freshman midfielder Rintaro Tanigawa scored the Badgers first goal, assisted by freshman midfielder Fabrice Aitken.

Snow scored again in the second half off the foot of freshman forward Zackary Lifferth, again assisted by Aitken.

The Badgers’ first loss of the season came against SLCC, and it wasn’t pretty. SLCC scored within the first two minutes and got out to a 3-0 lead in the first half before the 26th minute. Long said the speed of SLCC forwards made life difficult for Snow’s defense, which was down several starters.

It was freshman defender Sean Lane-Turnbull that finally got things running for the Badgers, assisting the first goal for Snow in the 30th minute to sophomore defender Takum Hepworth.

Lane-Turnbull scored himself in the second half on an unassisted take, then assisted another score to sophomore Kanta Sakata, but SLCC’s offense couldn’t be stopped as Snow allowed two more goals.

For the Lady Badgers, their date with the No. 8 Bruins resulted in jubilation, as Snow claimed not only a huge region victory early in the season, but also posted the win over a fellow top-10 team in NJCAA rankings.

And it was anything but easy.

“The game with SLCC was a good test to see where we are at this time,” Long said. “They are a strong team and the ladies played well.”

It took two overtimes before Snow could put away the Bruins. The Lady Badgers totaled nine shots, five on goal, for the game, and perhaps surprisingly for a rivalry matchup, there were no yellow cards for either team.

It was in the 104th minute that the golden goal came. Sophomore midfielder Mallory Ringer streaked downfield and buried the unassisted score to seal the deal for Snow.

“For me, the win is nice,” Long said, “but our goal is to make the top four in conference and qualify for playoffs. Winning does help confidence.”

The men’s and women’s teams both prepare to take on Southern Nevada at home this Saturday.