Area Class 3A soccer teams gearing up |

Area Class 3A soccer teams gearing up

Joelle Milholm
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PEACH VALLEY ” Most soccer teams are struggling with weather in their preseasons and trying to get time playing outside.

While Coal Ridge has that problem, it is also having to practice and play its first game ” and maybe more ” without its head coach Brian Blair. Blair has been busy coaching the Titans boys basketball team to regionals ” essentially the Sweet 16 of the Class 3A basketball playoffs. Blair said he’s been able to make it to about four practices and that his assistant, Sarah Ryan, has been holding the fort in his absence.

Even in his little time with the team, which is also still waiting for a few girls who are playing for the Coal Ridge girls basketball team, also playing in regionals this weekend, Blair said he was impressed with the Titans.

“It is pretty much the same team from last year but with more experience,” he said. “I am excited. I think we are going to be good.”

Even though this will be the first season the Titans will have seniors on the roster, the majority of the team is still juniors, sophomores and freshmen.

The Titans were scheduled to start their season on Thursday against Roaring Fork but the game was postponed due to snow on the field. Today, Coal Ridge will head west, escaping the snow to take on Grand Junction Central at 4 p.m.

The Roaring Fork girls soccer team is down in numbers this year, with about 16 girls, down from the usual 24 or so. The Rams only graduated one senior last year, but lost a few more players who decided not to return to the team.

“It’s going to be a different group,” said fourth-year head coach Brad Zeigel.

The team also had a shakeup with assistant coaches, as it lost assistant Hal Templeton, who moved to Grand Junction and is coaching the Grand Junction High School boys soccer team. Zeigel said there are three other coaches helping him who should be able to make a difference with the girls.

Another bright side for the Rams, is that even though snow has prohibited many outdoor practices, the new high school with main and auxiliary gym has allowed teams to practice inside, which was not possible before.

Despite smaller numbers, the Rams will have some familiar faces returning. Zeigel mentioned a few.

“We have Hanna Burleigh back at forward, Shawn Clapper and Nikki Smeins on defense, Krispin Jewkes, a good senior in the midfield and Kathy Vega, who’s a valuable forward. She wasn’t terribly healthy last year, but is looking great this year,” he said.

The Rams did get outside for a scrimmage Saturday at Montrose, which Zeigel said really helped the team. After their first game against Coal Ridge was postponed, the Rams will now start the season Tuesday against Rangely, which is playing all of its home games in Grand Junction.

Colorado Rocky Mountain School, which will also be battling the Titans and Rams in the Class 3A Western Slope League, will begin its six-game season on April 1 when it hosts Aspen.

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