Coal Ridge slides past Rifle in boys soccer
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado ” In his postgame talk, Coal Ridge coach Brian Blair cautioned his Titans not to be content.
Blair’s side had just polished off a 3-1 win over Garfield School District Re-2 mate Rifle in its season opener, and looked good doing so.
Coal Ridge had every reason to be content, but complacency is the last thing Blair wants to see from his Titans, who lost seven games by one goal last season.
“Last year, we were always content, win or lose, as long as the game was close,” he said. “I told them I want them to always make their next 80 their best 80.”
Coal Ridge made the most of its first 80, getting two goals from Darwin Cortez and another from J.J. Riddile to top Rifle, its Interstate 70 neighbor.
“I think we’ve been practicing really hard the last three weeks,” Cortez said. “This is why we practice all the time. I think we had great communication. We just gave 100 percent.”
The Titans scored two unanswered goals in the second half after flashing bouts of jitters in the opening half, which ended in a 1-all tie thanks to a late goal by Rifle’s Pablo Salgado.
Cortez broke the scoring open 14 minutes into the game, taking a forward pass from Efrain Garcia and breaking away for a short-range strike.Salgado’s goal came 13 minutes before intermission, when he juked loose of a defender and lined a short shot into the back of the net.
The second half belonged to Coal Ridge.
Cortez notched his second goal, taking a pass from Riddile, shaking free of a defender, and then hammering home his second goal just over eight minutes in.
Riddile’s goal, which came with 7:31 to go in the contest, iced the win. His breakaway strike came courtesy of a Garcia assist.
It was truly a tale of two halves in this one.
“The first half we looked a little erratic,” Blair conceded. “The second half I thought we had much more communication. The second half we decided to play with them. We moved the ball around well.”
Rifle coach Ryan Mahler, making his debut at the helm of the Rifle program, vowed that his squad would turn things around in the near future.
“It’s our first game,” he said. “You know that Coal Ridge team’s been playing together since they played U10 together. We have a bunch of guys I’ve never seen play except for the last month. … It’s just a learning experience.”
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