Bears scuttle Sailors
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The Rifle soccer team is starting to play its best ball of the season at a crucial time.With the regular season wrapping up this week, the Bears remain in position for a playoff slot with a 6-1 win against Steamboat Springs on Saturday.”The last three games we’ve played really good soccer,” Rifle coach Tom Taucher said. “Our focus has been on our guys finding their game, not on the league standings.”On Saturday, the Bears found an offensive rhythm, particularly in the second half. Without several great saves from Steamboat Springs goalie Elliot Girard, the score would have been more lopsided.”Rifle played great,” Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said.Rifle got on the scoreboard first 14 minutes into the half on a goal from Dustin Clay. Ryan Melody was credited with the assist.The Bears added another with six minutes left in the half on a one-hopper from Stuart Stapleton that took a weird hop past a diving Girard.Steamboat closed the gap, 2-1, on Max Hamil’s goal with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. The possession was the Sailors’ best of the game. Either Hamil or David Comeau could have knocked the centering pass into the net.”I heard them screaming like crazy,” Nick Labor said. “I knew they were open.”The defensive mistake Rifle made to allow two Steamboat attackers to spring free did not happen for the rest of the game.”We gave them time and space,” Taucher said. “When you do that Steamboat is really dangerous.”The second half was all Rifle, as the Bears added four more goals to their total. Rifle’s attackers and midfielders did an excellent job controlling the ball, while Rifle’s defenders kept Steamboat in check with their offsides trap.Each time the Sailors would try to strike, the Bears’ defense would creep up closer to the midfield line, giving Steamboat room to build an attack but no room to make runs without being whistled for offsides.Bohlmann said there are ways to counter the offsides trap, but Steamboat didn’t do a good job adapting in the second half.In the game’s final 40 minutes, Rifle got two goals from Jose Contreras, another goal from Stapleton and a goal from Adrian Macias.Contreras and Brett Chesley were credited with assists.Rifle takes on Eagle Valley at home Tuesday.
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Rifle High School wrestling won its matchup with Glenwood Springs Tuesday at the Glenwood triangular, while the Palisade Bulldogs took down both local teams.