Eagle Valley edges Rifle in OT
GYPSUM – Seven minutes couldn’t have come any quicker for Eagle Valley soccer Tuesday. After the Devils’ Steve White scored in the third minute of the first overtime, Rifle mounted several attacks, but Eagle Valley hung on for a 5-4 win that kept its playoff hopes alive.”It wasn’t pretty,” said Eagle Valley coach Chad Sloniker. “Good teams find a way to win and we did that.”Had it not been for a flurry of Eagle Valley goals late in the first half, the Bears could have come away with the win.Rifle erased an early Eagle Valley lead and then took control of the game in a matter of minutes.Rifle’s James Mitchell scored in the 17th minute off a corner kick to tie the game at one. Five minutes later, Mitchell added another when he stormed in on the right side Devils’ box and then ripped a shot in the left corner. A minute later, Rifle extended its lead to 3-1.With Eagle Valley trailing 3-1 in the 25th minute, Cesar Castillo cut the lead to 3-2 on a penalty kick.A Rifle defender was called for interfering with Castillo, and the Eagle Valley forward then launched a free kick from 10 yards outside the box that the Rifle keeper couldn’t handle. Castillo, who had the game’s first goal in the 10th minute on a corner kick, recorded yet another hat trick, and has 25 goals on the year.Mike Smith completed the first-half comeback with a left-footed tap in that came off a great cross from teammate Gilberto Martinez.”We gave away too many soft goals,” said Rifle coach Tom Taucher. “We touched four of their five goals, but didn’t hold on to them.”As has been the case all year, Trevor Grayson was brilliant in net for the Devils. After Mitchell knotted the game early in the second half on a clear rush to the net, Grayson preserved the tie and gave his team a chance to win the game.Grayson made two diving deflections on strikes from just outside the box, one of which he was screened by a defender.”We dominated in the second half,” Taucher said. “We played well enough to win.”
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