Bears hold off Demons |

Bears hold off Demons

Phil Sandoval

RIFLE – Flip-flop, what a shock.

The Rifle girls soccer team’s 2-1 win over Glenwood Springs on Tuesday put new spins on a lot of things for both teams.

The Bears’ victory earned Rifle a win in the regular-season series for the first time in at least a decade. More importantly, it allowed the Bears to gain control of second-place in the Class 4A Western Slope League standings over the rival Demons, despite having identical 5-2-1 records in the WSL.

Otherwise, it was a typical affair, as far as Glenwood-Rifle contests go. The game was physical, hard-played, and wasn’t decided until the final whistle.

While the game was decided late, play in the first 40 minutes was a big factor in the match’s outcome, according to coaches.

“I think our girls showed their true ability in the first half, said Rifle head coach Tom Taucher. “We’ve kind of been on and off this season, but our girls came ready to play. They were quick to the ball and they just played. We got two, we were hoping for more, but Glenwood is a quality team.”

Taucher’s Glenwood counterpart, Steve White, said it was a lack of the Demons following the game plan which led to a 2-0 deficit at intermission.

“We talked about what we needed to do before the game started and two minutes into it, we were already out of that game plan,” White said. “We didn’t execute what we needed to in the first half.”

The coach was looking for a possession, pass-oriented game that features ground passes to avoid the high winds which blew across the field. Instead, Glenwood did the opposite.

“You can’t put balls up in the air and you can’t put balls in the center of the field, and not expect Rifle to put them back at you,” White said.

And Brenda Cruz did exactly what the Demon coach was worried about.

In the second minute, the Bear sophomore pulled down a high ball inside the Glenwood penalty box, then tapped the ball outside to a waiting Nicole Erpested, who ripped a shot inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.

Later, Gerri Legg scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the 26th minute.

But the Demons did not go down easy.

Glenwood, which took just two weak shots on the Bear net in the first half, came back with a vengeance in the final 40 minutes.

Erpested hustled back barely in time to clear away a dangerous-looking through ball ahead of the Demons’ Amanda Whiting.

The Glenwood junior’s offensive run was a preview of the rest of the second half.

Time after time, the Demons maintained offensive control in Rifle’s half of the field. And, time after time, Glenwood came away with nothing to show for their efforts.

Rifle goalie Lindsay Railsback’s save on Jacquie Romero halted one drive. A couple of barely-missed Demon cornerkicks stopped other scoring attempts.

With 18 minutes left, White made the decision to apply more pressure to Rifle’s defense by adding sweeper Heidi Wild to the Demons’ offense.

The move paid off immediately.

Wild maneuvered her way inside the penalty area, which forced Erpested into a foul.

The Demon junior’s the penalty kick cut Rifle’s lead to 2-1 with plenty of time left for Glenwood to make something happen.

The problem for the Demons was, it never did.

Ashley Gavito forced Romero off the ball in the Bear defensive zone in the 69th minute. Whiting was called offside on a forming attack a few minutes later. In the final two minutes, which appeared to last longer than the previous 88 minutes of play, the Demons fired almost at will on the Bear goal, but, couldn’t get anything across.

Rifle 2, Glenwood Springs 1

Glenwood Springs 0 1-1

Rifle 2 0-2

R-Nicole Erpstead (Brenda Cruz), 2:20, R-Gerri Legg (unassisted), 26:32, GS-Heidi Wild (penalty kick), 63:47.

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