Forward Shepards team to win
Assistant Sports Editor
Patrick Shepard admitted he wanted to score a goal in his last game against Rifle.
“Every game’s the same. I always give my best effort,” said the Glenwood Springs senior. “Rifle is our rival. It’s my last year, and I wanted to come away with a goal.”
Shepard got his wish and more in Glenwood’s 3-1 win over the Bears Tuesday at Stubler Memorial Field.
The win moves Glenwood to 8-1-0 in league play (10-1-0 overall). Rifle falls to 3-6-0 (6-6-0 overall).
Shepard had a hand in all three Demons scores. He opened with a successful first half penalty kick for the initial lead, adding what turned out to be the game-winner later in the period.
Then for a final feat, his balancing act down the end line led to Dylan Gallacher’s insurance score in the 53rd minute.
Shepard said he got a break on his first score when his shot, headed for the upper right corner, caromed off the crossbar past Rifle goalkeeper Justin Harris for a 1-0 lead.
“I try to put the ball in the right upper (corner) on penalty kicks,” Shepard said. “It was just lucky that the ball hit the post and went in. I was glad.”
Shepard’s luck continued after pulling in a pass from Daniel Trejo at midfield in the 29th minute.
Rifle’s defense failed to shift over in time to defend Shepard’s determined goalward run. Heading into the box unguarded, the Demons forward stopped, gave Harris a slight deke, then put the ball in to his left side.
“I was waiting for a ball like that, because they were playing the offsides trap,” Shepard said. “I knew if they step up, I could fill the space and use my speed to my advantage.”
“I thought that was the goal that got us up,” said Glenwood coach Craig Plizga. “It woke up our players, and we started playing better after that.”
Down 2-0, the Bears clawed back to a one-goal deficit after Dustin Clay redirected a cross-field throw-in by Stuart Stapleton to the far left post.
Nine minutes after the goal, Shepard came through again.
Traveling down the touch line in the penalty area, Shepard drew Rifle’s defenders toward him ” allowing Gallacher to follow behind and tip in Shepard’s pass in front of the net.
“An assist is just as good as a goal, as long as you score,” Shepard said of the play. “Being able to beat a player down on the line and set the ball (in front) is one of the deadliest things you can do as a player.”
The Demons’ final goal took a lot of spark out of the Bears. In the final 17 minutes, Rifle had a number of attempts, but couldn’t put a shot behind keeper Abraham Saavedra, who finished with eight saves.
“I think our entire team played really well. Our play is improving. We had a few breakdowns with the PK and the breakaway. We thought we had two calls there that went against us,” said Rifle coach Tom Taucher.
“In the second half we had them pinned in their 18 and created some chances. We had a few ricochets that didn’t to go toward the goal.”
The Bears, fifth in the WSL entering Tuesday’s game, have three games left on their schedule. They play on the road at Steamboat Saturday and at Palisade Oct. 20 between a home contest against Eagle Valley Oct. 18.
Glenwood, in third place, has four league games remaining. Next up for the Demons is a rematch with Battle Mountain this Saturday in Gypsum.
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The 50th Carbondale Mountain Fair last weekend included the 42nd running of the Mt. Sopris Runoff 14-miler and its companion 4-Mile Fair Run foot races after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic.