Cowboys hitting their stride

Nathan Schultz battles for possession of the ball with a Chino Valley defender earlier this year. Schultz scored the only goal  in the  Cowboys 2-1 victory over Show Low. (Photo by Greg Macafee)

Nathan Schultz battles for possession of the ball with a Chino Valley defender earlier this year. Schultz scored the only goal in the Cowboys 2-1 victory over Show Low. (Photo by Greg Macafee)

TUCSON - The Camp Verde Cowboys soccer team traveled to Tucson this weekend to play in the Old Pueblo tournament, in which they played four games in 18 hours, and came out with three victories and one loss. The Cowboys went into Old Pueblo tournament ranked as the #13 team in Division V. The Cowboys ended up facing two teams in the top ten, defeating one and losing to the other.

The Cowboys started off their weekend with a victory over Round Valley on Friday. They came out with a 2-0 victory. The Cowboys went into their second game of the tournament, playing an evening game, and the field had no lights. Head Coach Dave Miller said the game was called ten minutes early because it was so dark. Trying to take advantage of the tournament play and get other players some field time, Miller decided to play his backup goalie against St Johns (#7). The Cowboys came out with a loss against St Johns, 4-1, and went home on Friday with a 1-1 record.

Camp Verde started off their Saturday morning with a match-up against the Show Low Cougars, who are ranked the #3 in Division V. Nathan Schultz came to the rescue yet again for the Cowboys scoring their only goal in a 1-0 victory. Being a "little short-handed," Miller said he had to switch things up against the Cougars, and at the time of Schultz's goal, he was playing stopper.

"He made a great run up for the stopper position to score the goal," Miller said "He just made a great run."

After their victory in the morning the Cowboys faced off with the Holbrook Roadrunners for their second game of the day and came out with a 3-1 victory.

"I was able to get some JV players some time and have everyone gain some experience in the tournament," Miller said.

Miller also praised the play of his sweeper David Perez and his goalkeeper Preston Maynard who have been two of the many players that have stepped up for the Cowboys in the back this season. Playing without three starters it seems as though the Cowboys may be hitting their stride at the perfect time. The Cowboys will have all three starters back by Thursday when they face off with the #1 ranked Chino Valley Cougars.

Midfielder Cody Fant will be returning from a concussion.

Defensive stopper Joe Jones will be returning from a back issue that has kept him out the past week or so. Also, the Cowboys will get back forward Jon Castillo who has been out since the first game of the season with a knee injury, but he will be limited. With the end of their schedule coming up the Cowboys are set to face some tough competition, Miller believes his young team will be ready for the competition.

"We have 6 games left and five of the six games left are all against teams ranked above us, three are in the top five, so we need to play the best to be the best, and we are excited it's like the playoffs have started for us already." Miller said.

The Cowboys are set to face the Chino Valley Cougars on Thursday before facing off with Grand Canyon on Saturday. To end their season the Cowboys face off with Ash Fork (#15), Arizona Charter (#21), and Phoenix Country Day (#9).

-- Follow Greg Macafee on Twitter @greg_macafee and Instagram @VerdeValleyNews

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