Coal Ridge Titan freshman nets winner |

Coal Ridge Titan freshman nets winner

Ian Cropp
Vail Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Preston Utley Vail Daily

EAST VAIL, Colorado ” Coal Ridge’s Ashley Bowles has been counting her blessings since the end of soccer tryouts.

“It’s big for a freshman to make varsity. Today was my second game, and I got to start,” said Bowles.

Tuesday against Vail Mountain, Bowles got to celebrate another milestone in her young career ” her first goal, which happened to also be an overtime game-winner.

Bowles buried a loose ball in the Gore Rangers’ box midway through the second overtime period to lift the Titans to a 2-1 Class 3A Western Slope League win in East Vail.

“They were going to put a different midfielder in (for overtime), but they kept me in, and I was very thankful,” Bowles said.

As was Coal Ridge head coach, Brian Blair.

“It was a fun game,” Blair said. “Both teams played well, but in the second half, Vail Mountain took it to us. They dominated us in the second half and we couldn’t get much on the offensive end and they just kept sending players through the middle. It was looking scary there for a while.”

Vail Mountain had plenty of chances early in the match to score, but Coal Ridge took a 1-0 lead into the break thanks to a tally by Jill Refior. The Gore Rangers came out hard in the second half and tied things up when defender Taylor Biegler blasted a free kick home in the 63rd minute for her first varsity goal.

After the goal, Vail Mountain continued to press Coal Ridge, and set up some good looks on the Titans keeper, Vanessa Hinojos. The Gore Rangers controlled the first 10-minute overtime period, and continued to hold the majority of possession in the second overtime, until a pair of corner kicks gave the Titans the chance to pull out the win.

On the second corner kick, the ball bounced around in the Vail Mountain box before finding its way onto Bowles’ foot and then into the back of the net.

“I was hoping it would go in,” Bowles said. “I was praying it would go in.”

The Gore Rangers were a bit stunned, but coach Bob Bandoni thought his team performed well.

“We are doing a lot of things right,” he said. “We need to work on our organization in the final third of the field. I’m really pleased with this effort. It’s always tough to lose in overtime, especially with a ball that just kind of sat there for a split second. But this indicates we’re coming along as a team.”

After her goal, Bowles hopes she’ll be starting in the Titans’ next game.

“I hope so,” she said. “I deserve that.”

Coal Ridge (1-0 WSL, 2-1 overall) will play that next game Thursday against 4A Palisade.

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