Bears complete sweep of Demons

G. Sean KellyGSPI Sports Editor

RIFLE – Depending on which team won the first game, fans from both sides often bring brooms to the second game of the annual Rifle-Glenwood Springs High School boys soccer series. But it’s rare that either side gets to actually make the sweeping motion when the final buzzer sounds. Glenwood and Rifle seem to always split or have a game finish knotted in a tie.The Rifle Bears fans got to break out the brooms – and use them – Tuesday afternoon.Rifle Senior Mike Ritter scored the first goal and assisted on the eventual game-winner as the Bears downed Glenwood 3-1 at Rifle High School for a season sweep of the Demons.”This is the first time for me. It’s the first time I can remember (sweeping Glenwood),” Ritter said. “It feels real nice.”Not only did the Bears earn a sweep over their archrival, but Rifle also maintained a slim lead over Steamboat Springs for the top spot in the Class 4A Western Slope League standings. Rifle improved to 5-1 in conference (6-3 overall), while Glenwood dropped to 2-4 (4-5). Steamboat is second in the league at 4-1 (7-1) after defeating Battle Mountain (3-2, 4-4) by a 5-2 margin Tuesday afternoon.The Bears had to wait a little longer than expected to earn their second win over Glenwood. Some field maintenance delayed the start of the contest about 50 minutes.Possibly due to the delay, neither team looked sharp at the outset.”Scoring three goals against Glenwood is always nice,” Rifle head coach Tom Taucher said. “But there wasn’t a lot of rhythm or possession for either team.”While Taucher wasn’t entirely pleased with the ball control of the team, Rifle more than made up for it in the its ability to gain possession of loose balls – particularly those in the air – and the resulting territorial dominance. “Rifle played an aggressive game,” Glenwood head coach Bob Guska said. “They are always aggressive on head balls and seem always to get a guy around the ball. That makes a big difference.”Ritter opened the scoring in the 15th minute. After streaking down the left side, the senior laid up a chip shot from the wing that Demon goalie Thais Kulwiec seemed to lose in the sun. The soft shot went over Kulwiec’s head and into the far corner for a 1-0 Rifle advantage.”I just looked up and saw nobody with me so I tried to put it to the back post,” Ritter said. “If it didn’t go in I was hoping somebody else would come and clean it up.”The sun, I bet, played a pretty big part (in the goal),” he added.The Demon’s made the most of one of their few scoring opportunities in the game midway through the half. Taylor Wilde took a pass from Ben Guska at the top of the penalty box and, two pretty moves later, evened the score at 1-all by beating Rifle goalie Roman Tenza to the right side.Although Rifle dominated most of the half – putting 11 shots on goal, compared to five by the Demons – the Bears couldn’t get the go-ahead goal until the 32nd minute. Ritter’s corner kick made it through traffic to Adam Krick, who tapped the ball out of the air and into the net for a 2-1 halftime lead.Rifle’s Dylan Menu gave the Bears a two-goal cushion in the 66th minute with a direct free kick from 20 years outside the penalty box snuck in under the crossbar and over the head of Kulwiec for the 3-1 final.Rifle has another home game Thursday at 4 p.m. against league foe Delta County, while the Demons travel to Battle Mountain.-In Class 3A Western Slope League soccer action, Eagle Valley (2-2, 5-3) defeated the Roaring Fork Rams (1-3, 2-6) by a 6-1 margin.

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