Bears drop first game of season to Panthers |

Bears drop first game of season to Panthers

Phil Sandoval

RIFLE – One good half of soccer can’t always overcome a bad half was the lesson learned by the Rifle girls soccer team Saturday in its 3-1 nonleague loss to Montezuma-Cortez.

“We have got to play two good halves,” said Rifle coach Tom Taucher. “We had a good second half, but they were beating us to the ball in the first half.”

Cortez’s Elise Stevens and Gina Franchini scored in the 18th and 20th minutes to put the Bears (2-1) in trouble.

Rifle turned up the offensive pressure in the second half, but couldn’t put a shot past the goal posts.

Two early drives were thwarted on a hand ball violation and an alert Panther defense, before Alicia Kuhns redirected Ashley Gavito’s pass to the lower right corner in the 49th minute.

It was the only time in the second half Rifle got a strong shot on goal.

After Kuhns’ score, the visiting Panthers, who whipped Cedaredge 8-0 on Friday, spent most of the remaining time in Rifle’s end of the field.

Sophomore Amanda Graffis, who assisted on Franchini’s goal, iced the contest when she played a ball off her hips, to her shoulder to her right foot for an insurance goal in the 61st minute.

On Thursday, Rifle had a brighter effort at Palisade.

In its 4A Western Slope League opener, the Bears earned a 2-0 shutout win over the Bulldogs.

Haley Hubble scored in the 12th minute for an early lead, with Laura Krick adding the insurance goal late in the contest.

Bear goalie Lindsey Railsback had three saves to earn her second shutout in as many games.

Rifle hosts Montrose on Tuesday in its final game before spring break.


Montezuma-Cortez 2 1-3

Rifle 0 1-1

MC-Elise Stevens (Liz Powell), 18:00, MC-Gina Franchini (Amanda Graffis), 20:00, R-Alicia Kuhns (Ashley Gavito), 49:00; MC-Graffis (unassisted), 61:00.

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