PEACH VALLEY — An early lead for the Coal Ridge High School girls soccer team — very early, mind you — was too much for the Basalt Longhorns to come back from on Tuesday afternoon.
Paige Ryan scored a pair of goals and Aileen Galaviz-Vega gave the Titans the lead for good within the first minute of the game, helping Coal Ridge remain unbeaten with a 5-0 Class 3A Western Slope League victory over Basalt at The Pasture.
“It’s always one of our goals to score first and score early,” second-year Coal Ridge coach Micah Herron said. “It always puts a lot of pressure on the other team.”
Throughout the game, it was the Titans (11-0-0 overall, 7-0-0 league) who always seemed to be putting the pressure on. Coal Ridge took 24 shots on Basalt senior goalkeeper Cira Mylott, and the Titans’ back defensive line limited the Longhorns to just two shots on goal.
“I know that the last time we played them, we were really tired and we didn’t start out very strong,” said the Titans’ Mariella Martinez, referring to Coal Ridge’s 2-1 win over Basalt on March 20 that capped a stretch of four games in seven days for the Titans. “This game, we had a lot more energy, and we really took advantage of it.”
Ryan’s first goal of the game, in the 30th minute, off a give-and-go play with Martinez gave the Titans’ a two-goal cushion, and Martinez added a goal of her own in the 34th minute to put Coal Ridge up 3-0 at halftime.
And all of that came after Galaviz-Vega’s goal scooted past Mylott with close to 50 seconds gone off the scoreboard clock, setting the pace for Coal Ridge, which is in the hunt for a second consecutive league championship.
Not that the Titans are thinking about that, though.
“You always want to win league, but that’s not our focus right now,” Herron said. “If that happens, that’s awesome and it’s a cherry on top of what we’re trying to do. But for us, we want to focus more on the day to day things to reach our goals.”
Mylott definitely limited the damage the Titans could have done, making multiple saves with a vertical or horizontal leap. Two of the times she cleared the ball, the Longhorns (3-4-1, 3-1-1) had opportunities to pull closer.
After Ryan made it 4-0 with her goal in the 49th minute, an outlet pass from midfield to Basalt’s Krysia Schneider gave the Longhorns’ sophomore a breakaway opportunity. But just as soon as Schneider crossed the 18-yard line, Titans’ defender Dana Kotz cut her off before she could get a shot on Coal Ridge goalie Holly Kesee. And in the 70th minute, Kotz cut off a run that Lucy Uguccioni made at the net, just minutes before Coal Ridge’s Jackie Collins capped her team’s scoring with a goal in the 73rd minute.
Coal Ridge plays a nonleague game on Thursday at home against Class 5A Grand Junction Central. Basalt continues league play on Thursday when the Longhorns host Grand Valley.