Coal Ridge soccer on track for another big season |

Coal Ridge soccer on track for another big season

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – The league title, perfect regular season and playoff win Coal Ridge’s girls soccer team bagged in 2009 weren’t enough.

The Titans want more.

“I think they realize that they’re pretty good,” Coal Ridge coach Brian Blair said. “They want to maximize their potential.”

With 10 seniors leading the way, the sky’s the limit for the Titans.

“I’m excited,” Blair said. “I think that this group has been four years in the making, especially these seniors. We have the right team chemistry and talent to potentially have a really good year.”

A record number of Titans have showed at training sessions during the offseason with the goal of a big season in mind.

“I think they want to improve,” Blair relayed. “It’s probably the best attendance we’ve had by the girls for the non-mandatory, indoor winter stuff. I think the girls are excited. They’ve already put in more time.”

Coal Ridge returns three seniors up front. Sydney Wright, Chelsie Ryan and Kourtney Mitchell combined to score 44 goals last season.

Returning to the midfield is senior Audrey Asplund, who scored eight goals and doled out a team-high 11 assists in 2009. Also back in the midfield is junior Ashlie Bowles.

Senior Sam Wilson will lead the defense and senior Tori Verdieck will again guard the net as goalkeeper.

CARBONDALE, Colorado – Battling attrition, Roaring Fork struggled to field both a varsity and junior varsity team much of last season.

With roughly 34 players out – many of the diehard variety – first-year Roaring Fork girls soccer coach John Ackerman is thinking 2010 will play out differently.

“We have a lot of returning players and a big group of new players,” said Ackerman, who is also the school’s boys soccer coach. “These girls are pretty consistent. They’ve been coming to all the practices. There seems to be a little more ambition.”

Ackerman observed from afar last spring. Doing so provoked thoughts of throwing his hat in the ring for the job.

“I started thinking there were things I could do to help this team,” Ackerman said. “I actually kind of got the idea into my brain last spring.”

The coach has some talent to work with.

Returning seniors Adrianna Romero and Alli Zeigel and sophomore Sharlene Salinas are back to the lead the Rams.

A strong sophomore class, one anchored by Kaleigh Wiswroth, Kelley Farrias and Elizabeth Ritchie, is also back.

Mix in a core group of freshmen who have demonstrated promise in early practices and Ackerman likes the direction the program is headed.

“It looks like we’re on a good path,” he said. “Just judging by numbers, it’s a strong showing. It’s one thing when they all show up and then just peter away, but this looks like a group of diehards.”

PARACHUTE, Colorado – Grand Valley will officially kick its second season of varsity play when the Cardinals host Grand Junction Central tonight.

The Cardinals took their licks last season, winning just one game. Kelly Clark, who has coached the program since its inception back in 2007, thinks 2010 could very well bring better results.

“This is kind of the year we were building toward when we started because of the upcoming talent and potential,” said Clark, whose program topped out at the junior-varsity level in 2007 and 2008.

With the economy affecting Garfield County School District 16’s student population, some of that talent isn’t around anymore. Regardless, Clark thinks her program can take a step forward.

“I think we’re working in the right direction,” she said. “It’s taking a little bit to get the cobwebs out of the system. We’re getting them used to soccer again. For the most part, they’re coming along really well. It’ll be an interesting year.”

Returning to lead the Clark’s Cardinals are seniors Mirna Vargas and Karmen Steimel. Junior Stephanie Hilgenbrinck will be back at goalkeeper and sophomore Kristen Schubert returns for her second season.

Clark also anticipates big contributions from a strong freshman class.

CARBONDALE, Colorado – Led by longtime coach Amanda Leahy, Colorado Rocky Mountain School will play a limited schedule in 2010.

The Pearls describe themselves as having varsity status, though they’ll be playing against junior-varsity squads and varsity/JV mixed teams. The hope is that the team will play a full varsity schedule in 2011.

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