Demons give Graceful effort vs. Bulldogs |

Demons give Graceful effort vs. Bulldogs

Jon Mitchell
Glenwood Springs High School's Grace McSwain (21) is congratulated by teammates Hailey Armstrong (16) and Sierra Martin (2) after McSwain scored a goal during the first half of the Demons' 2-0 Class 4A Western Slope League victory over Palisade on Thursday at Stubler Memorial Field.
Jon Mitchell / |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — There’s a graceful set play the Glenwood Springs High School girls soccer team has performed three times this season — and Grace McSwain is a big part of it.

Jenna Brown’s corner-kick connection with Grace McSwain resulted in the go-ahead goal for the Demons against the Palisade Bulldogs, and Glenwood held off a rally attempt in the final 10 minutes for a 2-0 Class 4A Western Slope League victory at Stubler Memorial Field on Thursday.

“We know that’s a key play for us,” Glenwood coach Steve White said. “We know that she’s a key target, and we know that she can time her run to the goal and position herself well so that Jenna can place the ball right where it needs to be.”

That goal helped result in a victory that put the Demons (8-3-0 overall, 8-2-0 league play) in a place they’d like to be in the league standings. Glenwood vaulted Palisade (8-3-0, 7-2-0) for second place in the league standings behind league leading Battle Mountain (10-1-0, 9-1-0). That came just two days after the Demons lost 4-0 at Steamboat Springs on Tuesday while missing some players to academic school functions.

“What a difference two days make,” White said, smiling.

Palisade, which didn’t allow a goal in the first seven games of the season, has lost three of its past four games by a combined score of 9-2. The Bulldogs are also missing their leading scorer in senior Cruz Maestas, whose season ended with a torn anterior cruciate ligament two weeks ago.

Ellie Austin scored the second and final goal of the game for the Demons, and it turned out to be an important one. The Demons and Bulldogs split their season series — with the Bulldogs earning a season-opening 1-0 overtime victory on March 6. But with Glenwood’s win on Thursday, the two-goal victory proved to be a tiebreaker, giving the Demons a 2-1 aggregate advantage.

McSwain put the Demons ahead to stay in the 22nd minute when Brown — who signed to play soccer this fall for Fort Lewis in Durango — lofted the ball to the far side of the goal. McSwain, who had a pair of header goals from Brown in a victory over Summit earlier this year, headed the ball past Palisade goalkeeper Katherine Dunn for the early 1-0 Glenwood cushion.

“Me and [Brown] know how we play together,” said McSwain, who noted that her sister, Lily, who now plays soccer at Denver University, also had that same play going with Brown. “It’s so cool that me an Jenna have it this year now.”

Austin put the Demons up 2-0 in the 38th, beating a pair of Palisade back-line defenders and slipping the ball into the net from 10 yards away past a charging Dunn. Palisade, however, didn’t play like it was done.

Palisade got a direct-kick scoring opportunity in the 62nd minute, with Nicole Harkreader getting a chance just 22 yards from the net. But after her shot went high and past the goal, the Bulldogs got another direct-kick chance from Allyson Kissel from 24 yards away in the 76th minute. Her shot, however, went high and into the lacrosse goal behind the soccer goal, opening the door for the Demons to run out the clock from there.

Glenwood plays next at Eagle Valley on April 25. The Bulldogs are off until April 22 when they play at Delta.

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