Coal Ridge scores early, secures 3-1 win over Paonia |

Coal Ridge scores early, secures 3-1 win over Paonia

PEACH VALLEY – The first goal in a soccer game doesn’t assure victory. But, it sure makes it an easier task to earn a win.The formula certainly worked for Coal Ridge, who after Eric Schmitz netted the game’s initial score, maneuvered the Titans to a 3-1 league win over Paonia Thursday.”The first goal of any game is extremely important. It sets the tone. And getting that goal was incredible,” said newly appointed head coach Brian Blair, who took over when former head coach Shawn McElroy resigned. And set-up surrounding Schmitz’s goal was just as incredible.Rushing down the left side in the 11th minute the Titans sophomore got open and smacked the crossbar with a shot. Rather than pouting over the miss, as most players would, Schmitz raced over to the other side and put in his own rebound.”That was pure heart,” Blair said of Schmitz’s play.The rest of the Titans appreciated Schmitz’s hustle and jumped aboard with enthusiasm to add to their one-goal lead after halftime.Forward Juan Rodriquez, who couldn’t seem to get a shot on goal in the first 40 minutes despite a number of good runs, redirected Ryan Zelenka’s cornerkick in the box to the right low corner for a 2-0 lead.After Rodriguez found the net early in the second half, the Titans weren’t content to sit back and play defense.Just yet.Two minutes later Zelenka barely missed scoring a goal of his own when his slow roller to the left post was taken in by Paonia keeper Evan Hansen a whisker ahead of the goal line.Later on, Darwin Cortez had no problem scoring. The Titan sophomore whizzed a blast off a feed from Rodriguez to the right side of the goal for a 3-0 lead.As a team, Coal Ridge had 16 shots on goal. The Titan defense equaled the offensive side’s performance.Paonia took eight shots at Coal Ridge goalie Skylar James. He stopped seven.His lone miscue came with less than three minutes left when Eagle Manual Ramirez redirected a long pass to the far post.”I was very impressed with the team,” Blair said of the Titans. “They took this week of practice seriously. They used it in the game. That’s why we were successful.”Coal Ridge will host another home game on Saturday when it takes on Colorado Rocky Mountain School at 11 a.m.

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