Bears come back against Bulldogs
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado ” As Caitlin Clay’s cross from the corner soared past Rifle’s Mikel Condie, Condie probably didn’t expect what came next. The ball bounced off the foot of nearby teammate Lauren Potter and settled right in front of Condie, who improvised to poke home the game-tying goal.
“It was left-footed,” the right-footed junior proudly pointed out.
Condie’s goal was Rifle’s second in a 1 minute, 35 second span and fully erased an early 2-0 deficit for the Bears, who added a goal early in the second half to earn a 3-2 girls soccer win over visiting Palisade on Thursday.
Jennay Harper preceded Condie’s 36th-minute strike with a goal of her own, winning a 50-50 ball deep in Palisade’s defensive zone and dribbling in for a breakaway score.
The two-minute sequence completely altered the complexion of the game. Palisade had been dominating the possession battle and built its lead on a pair of goals by freshman Flannery Davis, her third and fourth of the season.
“We let up for 10 minutes in the first half,” lamented Palisade coach Luann Ehlers, who had a group of teary-eyed players to console after the game. “It was enough for them to score two goals. Otherwise, we were in control. That’s why it’s such a hard loss for the girls.”
Revitalized by the late first-half happenings, Rifle came out firing in the second half, attacking and winning the possession battle early on.
“I guess Jennay and I don’t score many goals, so everyone said, ‘They’re doing it now. We can do the same thing,'” Condie joked.
Less than four minutes into the half, Clay broke free up the right flank and, within feet of the end line, put a line drive on net from a tough angle.
The Bears, who improved to 2-1-0 overall, survived a few close calls down the stretch to hold on for the win.
First-year Rifle coach Jennifer DeHamer’s not quite sure what clicked for her team late in the first half.
“Truthfully, I don’t know,” she said. “We just came out slow. With about 10 minutes left in the half, we started to click. I’d guess that first goal we scored had a lot to do with it.”
What DeHamer does know is her team seems to be benefiting from strong chemistry in the season’s early going.
“We have really good team chemistry,” she said. “It’s really good this year. We’ve had no drama all season and, at practice, the kids are working their tails off.”
Next up for Rifle is a March 31 meeting with visiting Eagle Valley. Palisade (1-1-0) hosts Moffat County on Tuesday.
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