Demons advance to sweet 16
Rarely do games go exactly the way coaches write them up on the board, but Glenwood Springs soccer coach Bob Guska couldn’t have asked for much more out of Saturday’s regional playoff game.
Buoyed by Ian Lochhead’s three goals and one assist in the first half, the Demons were able to get off to the quick start Guska was looking for and coast to a 4-0 victory over the Skyline League’s Brighton in the regional round of the playoffs, held at Stubler Memorial Field in Glenwood.
“We just came out hard,” Lochhead said. “We knew, as seniors, this was probably the last time we’d get to play on this field.”
Lochhead notched his first goal three minutes into the contest off a nice one-touch assist from freshman Patrick Shepard. He gave the No. 1-seed Demons (11-3-1) a 2-0 lead 5 minutes later, netting a header off a corner kick from senior Jason Granato.
“I think with Ross (Smith) and Derek (Weller) scoring a lot (during the season), they paid a lot of attention to them,” Lochhead said of the Demons’ two leading scorers. “We reversed roles. They were setting me up instead of the other way around.”
It wasn’t an entirely one-sided deal between Lochhead and the two forwards, however.
Lochhead and Smith, who entered the game with a team-high 16 goals, worked a nice give-and-go at midfield before Lochhead led Smith with a perfect ball down the right side.
Smith finished off the partial breakaway by sneaking a low shot past Brighton goalkeeper Kevin Nicastle for a 3-0 lead in the 10th minute. The senior forward also hit the crossbar twice in the game.
Lochhead finished off the first half with a booming shot from the top of the penalty box past Nicastle and into the right corner for a 4-0 lead at the intermission.
“(The Bulldogs) were pushing to watch Ross and Derek, but when Ian gets the ball in front of the net he’s as good as they are,” Guska said.
“We’ve had trouble starting all year,” Brighton coach Jim Baker said. “(The Demons) are a good team, an awesome team. They pass well, go to the ball well and strike the ball well.”
Defensively, the Demons dominated throughout the game, even though they were short a starter in Marcus Bernier and, at times, only had one defensive starter on the field.
Glenwood allowed just four shots on goal in the game, and the only solid scoring chance came off a direct free kick from just outside the penalty box. Goalie Buster Bosna gobbled up the shot en route to Glenwood’s fifth shutout of 2002.
“I was more nervous for this game than any other,” senior sweeper Cisco Tharp said. “I knew if we didn’t win I would be an ex-Demon, not a Demon (soccer player).
“The midfielders made it easy for us,” he continued. “They won the balls in the middle and we just cleaned up the trash. And I’ve got to give props to (Bosna). He made a nice save on the free kick.”
In the second half Glenwood conserved a number of players with nagging injuries or yellow cards, but continued to control the game and play tight defense.
The seedings for the state tournament are expected to be released Sunday afternoon. Glenwood could have another home game, but it’s unlikely given the lack of exposure the Western Slope League gets statewide.
“We got on top quick so we were able to get some players out,” Guska said. “We’ll be at full strength and we’re probably going to play a Denver (area) team so it will probably be a rough game.”
All players begin the round of 16 with a clean slate as far as yellow cards. The game is expected to take place Saturday.
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