GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Opportunities abounded for the Glenwood Springs High School girls soccer team on Tuesday. By contrast, the Demons made sure the Palisade Bulldogs' opportunities were slim to none.
Hailey Armstrong scored a pair of second-half goals for the Demons, who finished the Class 4A Western Slope League match with close to three times the scoring opportunities of their opponents in a 3-1 victory over the Bulldogs at Stubler Memorial Field.
"They're a very good team, and they're going to take advantage of you if you give them the chance," Glenwood coach Steve White said. "We couldn't give them that chance."
The Demons (6-1-0) won their sixth-consecutive league match because they limited the chances. Overall, Glenwood had 15 shot attempts to Palisade's six, and the Demons controlled the midfield for the majority of the match.
"We took control from the beginning," said Lillie McSwain, whose upfield pass in the 45th minute to Armstrong set her up to score the go-ahead goal. "Palisade is a great team, and they've always been one of our biggest rivals. They played great, but I've got to give it to our team. This is a huge win."
Glenwood also vaulted Palisade (7-2-0) in the loss column for first place in the WSL's Western Division. The Demons have four league matches remaining on their schedule, with the toughest coming in Thursday's home game against Steamboat Springs (5-3-2). Should Glenwood prevail Thursday and win its remaining matches next week against Eagle Valley (1-7-0), Delta (3-5-0) and Rifle (0-9-0), the Demons would win the league title.
"We all knew going in that they were the No. 1 team," said junior Jenna Brown, whose goal in the 19th minute opened the scoring for the Demons. "It shows that we were ready for them."
The Demons' only loss of the season came in their season opener at Palisade, a 3-2 setback in overtime on March 7. White said his team played well in that opener, but got off to a slow start against the Bulldogs.
Not this time.
The Demons took four shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of the match, nearly scoring on a chance from Anderson in front of the net that was covered by Palisade goalkeeper Katie Dunn. Glenwood took advantage of a chance not long afterward, as a lob shot from Brown sailed over Dunn's head and into the back corner of the net for a 1-0 Glenwood lead.
Palisade answered, as junior Cruz Maestas broke away and put a shot past Rachel Rosenberg in the 32nd minute to knot the score at 1-all. But Glenwood took the lead right after halftime in the 45th minute, as McSwain's long outlet pass from the right sideline landed in stride in front of a streaking Armstrong, who punched the ball past a diving Dunn for a 2-1 Glenwood cushion.
Maestas nearly tied it in the 52nd minute on another breakaway, but Rosenberg came out off the goal box to cover the ball as Maestas charged the net. Glenwood put the match out of reach 11 minutes later when Anderson took advantage of another breakaway opportunity, as her shot deflected off Dunn's gloves and into the net for the Demons' final margin of victory.
"We're going to have to be at our best against Steamboat on Thursday," White said. "We're on top now. We have to keep things moving forward."