Coal Ridge curtain call
Special to the Post Independent
PEACH VALLEY — Take a bow, Coal Ridge girls soccer.
With a 3-1 win Tuesday against Class 3A Western Slope League-rival Roaring Fork, the Titans wrapped up first-place in the 3A Region 3 standings. Coal Ridge finished the regular season with a 9-0-0 league record and a 14-1-0 overall mark.
“The girls put in the work from day one,” first-year Coal Ridge coach Micah Herron said. “This group never quits. I’m very proud of their effort.”
The Titans got a pair of goals and an assist from senior Kelsey Fauser to pace the Coal Ridge attack. Fauser, who will attend Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, next fall, now has 20 goals and four assists this season.
She said the league title is awesome, but there is more soccer to be played this season.
“All the work we’ve put in is really paying off,” Fauser said. “But we have a lot more work to do. Today was a lot of fun because Roaring Fork is so good.
“They wanted this game as much as we did,” she continued. “They really made us earn it.”
Coal Ridge outshot Roaring Fork 15-5 and controlled the midfield play for most of the game. While the numbers and time of possession clearly favored the Titans, the Rams made the best of their touches and kept the game close.
Coal Ridge was first to tally a goal with 16:45 to play in the first half. Sophomore midfielder Mariela Martinez intercepted a pass just beyond midfield and took off down the left side of the field before finding Fauser breaking towards the Roaring Fork goal. Fauser collected the pass and beat Roaring Fork keeper Madison Handy for a 1-0 lead.
Roaring Fork was quick to answer. After a penalty gave the Rams an indirect free kick in Coal Ridge territory, sophomore Taylor Adams took the free kick and simply tapped the ball to her right. Sophomore Emily Fisher immediately fired a laser beam of a shot that stayed five feet off the ground until it hit the back of the Coal Ridge goal to tie the game at 1-1 with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
With less than two minutes to play before halftime, though, Coal Ridge junior midfielder Paige Ryan took a pass and broke down the left side of the field. Just as a Rams defender appeared to have Ryan’s path blocked, the junior whipped a quick pass to Fauser, who put the ball in the goal for a 2-1 Coal Ridge halftime lead.
The second half was an even contest with both teams stepping up defensively. Coal Ridge got an insurance goal with 15 minutes to play when Fauser won control of a lose ball to the right of the Roaring Fork goal.
Fauser kept the ball inbounds, then turned and sent a gorgeous pass right through the Roaring Fork goal box where junior Aileen Galaviz took the pass and scored.
“Coal Ridge is a great passing team,” Rams coach Heather Fox said.
“Hat’s off to them. They exposed some things we need to fix.”
The win gives Coal Ridge its third league title, with the others coming in 2009 and 2010. The Titans now will wait to see who they will face next week in the Class 3A state playoffs.
Roaring Fork (11-2-1, 6-2-0 league) still has one more regular-season league match remaining at Aspen at 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.
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