Demons a head above the Bulldogs |

Demons a head above the Bulldogs

Matt CreerSpecial to the Post Independent
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson Glenwood's Cory McGrath, left, flies high, trying to head a corner kick into the goal as Moffat County's Landon Schwindt stands at the ready during Saturday's game.

The Glenwood Springs High School Demons cruised to a win on the soccer field Saturday, but if it wasn’t for Moffat County’s strong defensive play, it could have easily been a blowout. As it was, the Demons beat the Bulldogs 2-1.”We played well,” Demons coach Craig Plizga said. “We should have scored more with the opportunities that we had, but overall I’m satisfied with our performance.”

Both Plizga and Moffat County coach Jeff Hammond had reason to be happy with the play in the first half. Each team had a few breakaway chances and displayed good speed and ball movement.But the Bulldogs struck first, 11 minutes into the game. Striker José “Pepe” Loya cut through the Demon midfield, narrowly avoided a slide tackle by Demon defender Dylan Weller, and suddenly found himself with some open space. He finished the run with a strong kick that found the back of the net in the upper right corner.The Bulldogs didn’t enjoy their lead for long. Just three minutes later, they were defending their own goal with several Demons in front of the box. Pat “Shep” Shepard picked up the ball on the endline and made a nice move to get through two defenders. His quick shot to the corner of the goal deflected off the arms of Bulldog keeper Malcom Hillewart and onto the foot of Corey McGrath, who immediately drilled it down the middle for a score.Buoyed by strong play from defender Giovanny Annaya and midfielder Pat Waller, the Demons turned up the heat in the second half by keeping the ball in the Bulldog’s half of the field the majority of the rest of the game.

“Giovanny was great out there today,” Plizga said. “And Gabe (King), also. They played a very intense, aggressive game and shut down their top striker. They did a great job stepping into the attack.”The Bulldogs were reduced to battling for possession in their own territory, and that led to more aggressive play on defense. Glenwood was awarded two penalty shots in the second half as a result.The first occurred just three minutes in, when Bulldog defender Aaron Kawcak took McGrath down in the box while attempting to prevent a shot. McGrath took the penalty kick himself and drilled it into the right half of the goal. The second P.K. was taken by Shepard with 20 minutes left in the game, but was denied by a good save from Hillewart.

The Demons had many more chances in the half, but the Bulldogs kept the ball out of the net. Time and time again, the Demons watched promising plays get squelched by Bulldog sweeper Schuyler Hammond, and strong shots end up in Hillewart’s hands.Hillewart had 34 balls kicked his way, including the two penalty kicks. And with a little help from the goal posts, he kept all but 32 in front of him. It was an impressive showing from a player Hammond called “one of the best keepers in the state.”Plizga also praised Hillewart.”Hillewart kept them in the game,” said Plizga. “Their entire backfield was very strong.”

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