Bears can’t catch Demons
Post Independent Sports Editor
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A large deficit didn’t keep the Rifle High School boys soccer team from playing hard for 80 minutes on Tuesday night. All that effort, however, wasn’t enough to overcome Glenwood Springs.
Elias Vasquez set up a pair of early goals for Glenwood, which held off a last-minute rally attempt from the Bears on their way to a 3-1 Class 4A Western Slope League victory at Stubler Memorial Field.
“At first, it was kind of frustrating,” Vasquez said. “I had so many shots and so many opportunities. And by the end, I figured if I couldn’t score, I’m just going to get a lot of assists.”
Vasquez ended up with a pair of assists — one to Lazaro Mata in the second minute and another to Octavio Dominguez in the 15th minute — that helped give the Demons (4-4-0 overall, 3-3-0 league) an early 2-0 lead. His speed up and down the right sideline not only gave fits to Rifle’s back line, but it set the Demons up for many of their 17 total shot attempts.
“We were using him as a target player, and he and Oscar [Villegas] can usually combine on some things,” Glenwood coach Steve White said. “Elias is just an incredible player, though. He can make moves at full speed that other players can’t make at half speed.
“One of the things I told him was to continue to take shots,” the coach continued. “Our two early goals came off what were his original shots, but they ended up being rebounds.”
Rifle (1-7-0 overall, 0-6-0 league) looked ready to rebound throughout the match despite the Bears’ early two-goal deficit. That rebound didn’t happen until the final five minutes, when a 72nd-minute free kick from Junior Calvillo — a 30-yard kick that bounced off the top of the goal bar and off the football goal post — sparked a rally attempt from the Bears that brought them new energy as the clock ticked down.
“We saw at halftime that we weren’t having a problem sustaining an attack, but it was getting to that point that was our biggest problem,” Rifle coach Rich Carter said. “If we keep seeing this, we can finish off the season pretty well.”
Glenwood did everything it could to finish off the Bears late in the match. It finally seemed to come to fruition in the 74th minute when junior Kevin Snyder — who was brought up from the junior varsity for Tuesday’s match — knocked the ball past Rifle goalkeeper David Salgado after the senior had blocked a pair of point-blank shot attempts to create a pinball feeling inside the goal box.
Rifle didn’t give up, though. Rifle senior Ryan Bell’s free kick from 50 yards away, like Calvillo’s, also bounced off the top of the goal post. But instead of bouncing into the football crossbar, the ball bounced back onto the field to Josh Amaya, whose header in the 78th minute brought the Bears within two goals.
Rifle kept making runs from there, getting shots from Amaya and Austin Rickstrew in the final minutes before time ran out.
“It was nice that we were able to be the aggressors,” said White, who was shivering a bit after his team had doused him with water following the victory. “We have that kind of talent. It’s just a matter of having those moments when we can put it all together.”
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