Titans welcome Telluride to town
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Coal Ridge’s boys soccer team tasted the postseason for the first time last year. This year, the Titans hope to stay for a while.
That quest begins today for 12th-seeded Coal Ridge, which wages its first-ever playoff game on home soil against 21st-seeded Telluride (7-6-1) in the first round of the 32-team 3A state playoffs this afternoon.
Last year, the Titans lost to Ridgway, 1-0, in the first round, capping a 10-6 season. They’ve taken it up a notch so far in 2010 with a 14-1 regular-season record and hope to take it up a few more notches in the playoffs.
“Last year, we had a good game against Ridgway, but I don’t think we had as much confidence,” Coal Ridge coach Brian Blair said. “This year, we really believe in ourselves. We know, if we play the right way, we can be successful.”
The Titans have parlayed that confidence into a nearly flawless season. A 1-0 loss to Basalt on Oct. 19 is all that kept Coal Ridge from a perfect record in the regular season – and from a Region 3 title.
Blair thinks the defeat, which came in the second-to-last game of the season, served as a wake-up call. It certainly helped him refocus.
“It helped me, too,” he said. “I think that I was starting to let them get into some bad habits. We were playing some teams where we could get away with it and still score goals. I watched the Basalt film and our offense was stagnant and boring. We made some corrections there and we have a more diversified attack, like we did at the beginning of the year.”
Before the Basalt lost, Coal Ridge appeared to be on its way to a top-10 seed.
“That one game against Basalt cost us five or six spots in seeding,” Blair said. “I think that the state perception of the league is pretty solid,” They don’t think we have any incredible teams. Hopefully, we’ll prove ’em wrong.”
Flying under the radar isn’t such a bad thing, Blair said.
“I don’t mind being the 12 seed at all,” he said. “I like that we get to host a game. I feel like we can make some noise the rest of the way.”
Whatever happens, the fifth-year coach and his Titans have enjoyed a milestone season.
“We’ve had a great year,” Blair said. “If you told me at the beginning of the season that we’d be 14-1, I’d be extremely happy. It’s been a tremendous ride.
“I really love these guys I’m working with. They’ve definitely fast-forwarded our progress as a program by how hard they’ve worked and the time they’ve put in.”
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Commencement at Colorado Mountain College is always a special day, but this year was different.