Titans stand tall in Basalt
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
BASALT, Colorado – Coal Ridge did its part. Unfortunately, it was not enough to clinch a fourth consecutive 3A Region 3 crown.
The Titans entered Thursday afternoon’s regular season finale in Basalt needing a victory and an Aspen loss at Vail Mountain School to secure another conference title. Coal Ridge was methodical against an injury-riddled Longhorns side, pulling ahead late in the first half and dominating the final 40 minutes en route to a 2-0 victory.
The Titans (11-1-3 overall, 7-0-2 conference) had to settle for second place, however. Little more than an hour after the action wrapped in the midvalley, the Skiers scored in the waning moments of double overtime to pull out a 4-3 victory.
That’s just fine with Coal Ridge coach Brian Blair.
“I told the girls that no matter what happened today, we were going to get a home playoff game by finishing first or second. They did what they had to do,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens. I was pleased with the effort, and that’s all we could control.”
The Titans sure played with a sense of urgency on a blustery afternoon. They missed a few prime scoring chances during a tight and physical opening half, and then pulled ahead about 5 minutes, 42 seconds before halftime. Forward Alicia Cokley shook free on a run up the far side of the pitch, paused briefly and fired a sharp liner past charging Basalt goalkeeper Emmalee Erickson.
In the 56th minute, Coal Ridge all but put this one out of reach. Allie Ehlers lofted a corner kick into a crowded box, and teammate Rebecca Mitchell pounced and headed the ball into the back of the net.
“Becca has three corner-kick goals this year off headers. She’s good at it,” Blair said. “When it’s 1-0, it only takes one [to tie]. When the lead is two, you have to get one, then another. Mentally, that’s hard for another team.
“This is the best we’ve played all year. … We played with athleticism at the beginning of the year. Now, we’re starting to look like a soccer team. It’s taken a while, but now I feel like we know where we want to go with the ball – it creates a lot of chances.”
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.