An improved Coal Ridge team ties Roaring Fork |

An improved Coal Ridge team ties Roaring Fork

CARBONDALE ” In a defensive battle with tough back lines and talented goalies, neither team could find an offensive edge and Coal Ridge tied Roaring Fork 1-1 in a rainy, girls soccer game that went into double overtime on Saturday morning.

After an even first half, the Rams (2-2-3 Western Slope League) came out firing at the start of the second. Nineteen minutes in, Hanna Burleigh scored the first goal of the game after redirecting a free kick by Leslie into the Titan goal. Roaring Fork kept creating scoring opportunities ” such as Amy Anderson’s penalty kick, which bounced off the crossbar, and her corner kick, which bounced off the side post ” but nothing went in.

“We just got to get confidence to get the ball in the back of the net,” said Roaring Fork head coach Brad Zeigel. “It’s from corners to penalty kicks, and you aren’t going to get many opportunities in this league and you need to take advantage of them.”

Once the Rams made the goal, the Titans (4-2-2 WSL) were revitalized ” stealing the momentum of the game.

After kicking three shots that were either blocked by defenders or by Ram goalie Daisy Tena, Coal Ridge finally capitalized on one of its opportunities and scored the game’s next and final goal. Alishia Boyles got her foot on a rebound and bounced a ball past Tena and into the goal, tying up the game with less than seven minutes to go in regulation.

“I thought there was a hand ball down there that got missed and then right after that we scored ” So the soccer gods evened it out,” said Titan head coach Shawn McElroy.

Coal Ridge kept the ball on its offensive end of the field from that point through the first overtime.

“I love the way we played in the first half,” Zeigel said of the Rams’ performance. “We played even better in the second half and then when we scored that goal, they brought up their energy level and all of the sudden we were on our heals. That was a big swing in the momentum of the game and Coal Ridge did a beautiful job of keeping that pressure on. We finally got back in that second overtime to our game.”

Roaring Fork got off a few shots in the second OT, but Titan goalie Vanessa Hinojos stopped them all. She made 12 saves on the day, while Roaring Fork’s Nicole Smeins and Tena combined for 13.

The Titan defensive unit of Nalini Blanco, Courtney Hutton, Alyssa Little and Staci Baker acted like a wall for Coal Ridge, just as defenders Jess Smeins, Annie Leslie and Rebecca Roeber did for Roaring Fork.

“The defense has gelled awesome,” McElroy said of his team. “They support each other so well and Vanessa in goal ” she’s a rock for us.”

The game was much closer than the last time the two teams faced each other on March 23, when Roaring Fork won 4-0. Zeigel was impressed with how the young Titans, who could be playoff bound, are improving.

“Coal Ridge’s program is just making leaps and bounds in their play and it is just a treat to play against a team like that,” he said.

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