Demons come up short against Bulldogs in OT thriller
In a physical battle Thursday night at Stubler Memorial Field in Glenwood, the Palisade Bulldogs girls soccer team received a late goal in overtime from standout junior Sami Feller to knock off the Glenwood Springs Demons in a thrilling 4A Western Slope League showdown that had fans on the edge of their seats all game long.
Feller got the Bulldogs on the board early, scoring on a lofted kick from just outside of the box at the 34:05 mark of the first half following a long run down the middle of the field. But from there the majority of the game was controlled by the Demons, notably their defense, led by juniors Devin McSwain and Eryn Peterson, who drew the tough assignment on Feller in the league matchup.
After Feller’s opening strike, the junior didn’t get another shot on goal until the second overtime session, where she was able to slip a shot past Glenwood sophomore goalkeeper Katrina Thisgaard to score the golden goal for the win.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the job Eryn did tonight,” Glenwood Head Coach Joe Calabrese said. “She man-marked Sami and kept their most dangerous player at bay for the entire game. Two chances, two goals; that’s sometimes how the way it is. But also having Devin back there shutting it down … I’ve very proud of the way they played tonight. It was a tough task, but they stepped up in a big way.”
Despite dropping a heartbreaker in overtime, the Demons know that this was a game that was there for the taking all night long, thanks to a tremendous defensive effort and some standout play in net by Thisgaard.
Following Feller’s opening goal, the Demons went on the attack looking for the equalizer as senior Nina Scruton keyed the attack in the middle of the field.
At the 17:30 mark of the first half, Scruton, who is deadly on free kicks, had a chance to get Glenwood on the board, but her shot sailed just high from about 25 yards out, letting Palisade breathe a sigh of relief.
Just over five minutes later, Scruton forced a turnover on a goal kick, taking a shot on net from the right wing with the Palisade keeper well out of her net, but the shot was just wide to the right, striking the outside of the netting, again allowing the Bulldogs to dodge a bullet as the two teams went into the half with Palisade clinging to a 1-0 lead.
Coming out of the break, Glenwood picked up right where it left off in the first half as freshman forward Natalya Taylor, using her trademark speed to pressure the defense, drew a penalty in the box, setting up a penalty kick.
McSwain, who scored on a penalty kick Tuesday at Eagle Valley, converted her second straight try, this time beating the Bulldog goalkeeper low and to the right on a powerful shot, knotting the game up at 1-1 a little over two minutes into the second half.
Following McSwain’s penalty kick, Palisade picked up the pace offensively, putting pressure on the back line of Glenwood, forcing Thisgaard to stand tall.
The sophomore came up with a big save at the 33:45 mark of the second half on a shot from Palisade sophomore Kylee Castro to keep the game tied at 1-1, allowing the Demons to regroup defensively.
After Thisgaard came up with a big stop, the Demons were able to counter offensively, nearly taking a 2-1 lead as a corner kick from Scruton found the foot of McSwain in the box, but the shot from inside the box sailed just over the crossbar.
Minutes later it was Palisade’s turn as Feller made a great run into the box, finding senior Maya Hilty for a shot, but Thisgaard came up with a beautiful kick-save to end the Bulldog threat.
“She [Thisgaard] was standing on her head,” Calabrese said. “It was pretty quiet for her most of the night, but she came up with a beautiful save. That level of play right there in that spot is a level of play that you don’t really see in high school, to be honest. She did an absolutely incredible job back there tonight.”
Heading into overtime tied at 1-1, Glenwood had a chance to end it in the first overtime session as Taylor made a great run down the left wing, firing a shot on goal that the Palisade goalkeeper blocked away. Fortunately for Glenwood, the rebound off of the save found the left foot of senior Bailey Cox, who fired an arching shot at the net, but the attempt skipped just wide of the far post, ending the Glenwood threat.
In the second overtime, Feller out-raced McSwain to a ball in the middle of the field, beating Thisgaard on a rolling shot to the right post, ending the game on the golden goal.
“We went into the game talking about believing in themselves that they can play at this level,” Calabrese said. “This one definitely stings though because we had the better of the chances. Unfortunately, the game of soccer can be cruel. The way this one turned out, we were on the wrong end of it. I just told the girls to keep their heads up; they played their hearts out. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort that they put in tonight.”
With the loss, Glenwood falls to 5-4, 5-3 4A WSL on the season. The Demons will host the Coal Ridge Titans Tuesday at 4 p.m. in a nonleague matchup at Stubler Memorial Field.