Busy Coal Ridge beats Vail Mountain
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado ” Their legs might have felt a little bit like rubber, playing their fourth game in seven days, but Coal Ridge’s girls soccer team didn’t show any signs of fatigue on Monday.
Behind two first-half goals from junior Kourtney Mitchell, the Titans hung a 2-0 defeat on visiting Vail Mountain, taking what they hope is another step toward their first Class 3A Western Slope League title.
First, though, the league-leading Titans have to survive two more games in the next three days. Even if their legs and lungs are aching a bit.
“I think we’re feeling, not really down, but worn out,” Mitchell said. “It’s definitely our heart that keeps us in it. We do conditioning and stuff, but it’s definitely heart.”
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Heart is what Coal Ridge flashed on Monday, holding off a talented Vail Mountain squad for the second time in three days. On Saturday, the Titans rebounded from an early deficit to top the Gore Rangers 4-1 in Vail.
Back on their own pitch, Coal Ridge (12-0-1 overall, 11-0-1 in the 3A WSL) looked at home from the start.
Less than four minutes in, Mitchell won an Audrey Asplund-booted ball deep in the Titans’ offensive third and directed a roller past Vail Mountain keeper Lily Grisafi to put the hosts up 1-0.
Mitchell struck again in the 18th minute, taking a cross from Erica Ruiz and, from the edge of the 18-yard box, burying a high shot to pad the lead.
Dominating possession and narrowly missing on a slew of high-percentage chances, Coal Ridge cruised to the win by keeping the ball away from the Gore Rangers the bulk of the second half.
“They had better possession in the second half,” Vail Mountain coach Bob Bandoni said. “We didn’t have the real strength up front to finish. But, you know, that’s a good team.”
Titans coach Brian Blair echoed Bandoni’s assessment of the second half.
“The second half we possessed the ball,” he said. ” We owned it, from side to side.”
Not bad for a team running on fumes.
“We’re a little mentally tired,” Blair said. “We’ve played a lot of games in not so many days, and we found out Chelsie (Ryan) tore her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) right before the game. She’s our leading scorer right now, so that’s a little frustrating. But we took care of business. A win’s a win.”
Making up for Ryan’s absence won’t be easy as the Titans barrel toward the postseason.
“Chelsie’s shoes are really hard to fill,” Mitchell said. “I love her, for one, and it sucks her ACL got torn. Now we’re kind of working with three forwards.”
On Monday, Mitchell stepped up to fill the void up front. Blair expects others to follow suit as the Titans close out the regular season with a trip to Aspen today and a Thursday home date with Vail Christian.
“It was nice to see Kourtney step up and say, ‘I’ll take control of the situation with Chelsie out,’ and get some goals,” he said. “It’s a little weird not having Chelsie out there, but we’ll have a lot of people step up.”
Vail Mountain wrapped up its regular season at 9-4-1 and, assured of a top-four league finish, is bound for the postseason.
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