Coal Ridge, Basalt fight to a soccer draw
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Basalt’s Tori Kungli advanced deep into the left flat and sent a near-perfect cross Noel Chiarelli’s way. Chiarelli, in prime real estate for a point-blank shot, couldn’t connect cleanly with the ball and it rolled out of harm’s way.
That moment, which played out in the final minutes of regulation, pretty much summed up Thursday’s girls soccer meeting between Coal Ridge and visiting Basalt.
Scoring chances and promising runs were relatively frequent, but nothing ever came out of them.
As such, the Titans and Longhorns fought to a scoreless draw in a thrilling chapter of what’s grown into quite the rivalry.
In the teams’ last three meetings – including two in 2009 – there have been two ties and a one-goal Coal Ridge victory.
“We love playing them,” Basalt coach Makenzie Eshelman said. “It gives us such good competition and makes us rise up to a different level. We look forward to these games all year. They’re great.”
“They give us good competition every time we go at it,” said Coal Ridge senior Chelsie Ryan, who, like Chiarelli, had a near-miss of her own late in Thursday’s game.
Taking a centering pass from teammate Melessa Starbuck with a good look at goal, Ryan couldn’t get a clean kick off.
Early-season rust may have contributed to Thursday’s final score.
Seven Titans were busy with basketball until this past weekend’s state tournament.
“Our basketball girls had a great run. That’s seven players who get big minutes for us,” said Coal Ridge coach Brian Blair, whose Titans opened the season with a 6-0 win at Vail Christian on Monday. “Those girls have had two practices together. We’ll continue to work with each other and improve.”
The Longhorns (2-0-1) had played just two games before going up against its toughest opponent to date on Thursday. Additionally, Basalt’s home field remains unplayable as the Roaring Fork Valley thaws out from a snowy winter.
“We haven’t been on our field yet,” Eshelman said. “We played in Aspen on their turf, which was nice. We’ve been on an elementary school playground, just in grassy areas. … I think we’re just working kinks out. It’ll be a good next game.”
The next time Basalt and Coal Ridge meet will be April 17 in Basalt. The upper hand in the 3A Western Slope League (Region 4) title race could very well be at stake when that day rolls around.
“I really hope so,” Ryan said. “It’ll be a good competition. It’ll be really exciting.”
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