Enriquez hat trick lifts Titans past Palisade
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Watching a 3-0 lead over visiting Palisade shrink to 3-2 in a span of three minutes, Coal Ridge boys soccer coach Brian Blair was visibly frustrated.
Then came an insurance goal by Jose Rodriguez that pushed the Titans lead to 4-2.
“Now no more goals!” Blair shouted at his young team.
His young team complied, adding one more goal and surrendering nothing the rest of the way to polish off a 5-2 non-league victory.
“It was frustrating – 3-0 should be over in a soccer game,” Blair said. “All of a sudden, it was 3-2. … I liked the fact that we found another goal and we seemed to control the game from there.”
Palisade’s Spencer Jackson is the one who dealt Blair the scare, booting home a rebound in the 49th minute and then drilling a 52nd-minute goal from more than 30 yards out.
Rather than wilt, Coal Ridge responded with Rodriguez’s strike in the 55th minute.
The junior sped in toward goal up the right flat, maintaining possession as Palisade’s keeper charged up in the box in an effort to nix the threat. Though the diving keeper appeared to get a mitt on the ball, Rodriguez pushed ahead, hurdled the keeper and put a shot across the line.
Cesar Ortiz, one of just four seniors playing for the Titans, tacked on a final goal late. In the 76th minute, a corner kick by Rodriguez found its way through a scrum in front of the net and to Ortiz, who beat a charging keeper with a short-range shot.
Ortiz and company knew they had to regroup after letting the Bulldogs back in the game.
“We had to keep trying harder and harder every time,” Ortiz said. “We had to move the ball faster and not give up.”
In the first half and early in the second half, Edgar Enriquez stole the show for Coal Ridge. The sophomore was responsible for both of the Titans’ first-half tallies.
In the 15th minute, Luis Bocio dropped the ball for Enriquez, who beat one defender and hammered a left-footed goal.
In the 34th minute, Enriquez took a through ball down the side, cut back on a defender and put a shot inside the far post.
And he didn’t stop there.
Just six minutes into the second half, Enriquez corralled a cross from Rodriguez and beat the keeper to complete a hat trick.
“He’s a pretty good player,” Blair said of his star sophomore. “He can do some good things.”
The good things Enriquez did on Saturday helped Coal Ridge level its overall record at 2-2. The Titans travel to Roaring Fork on Thursday.
Palisade, which plays at Glenwood Springs on Tuesday, dipped to 0-3.
“We’re just making so many mistakes right now,” Bulldogs coach Drake Jandreau said. “It’s hard to stay on top of it. Obviously, Coal Ridge has a pretty polished team. They play pretty well together and execute pretty well.”
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Roaring Fork’s state soccer title hopes stayed intact through a scoreless 50 minutes of play, before defending champs Kent Denver caught fire big time.