Glenwood soccer rolls to 6-1 win over Eagle Valley
Displaying some impressive ball skills and tenacious physicality, the Glenwood Springs Demons girls soccer team rolled to an important 6-1 win Thursday night at Stubler Memorial Field over the visiting Eagle Valley Devils in 4A Western Slope League action.
In years past, the Demons and Devils were good for a tightly contested match with goals being hard to come by for both teams.
Not this year.
The Demons showcased a high level of skill on the ball that head coach Joe Calabrese had only seen in small glimpses in years past. That skill helped the Demons rack up chance after chance against the Devils in the league battle, leading to the 6-1 win, marking the 15th straight win at home for the Demons, dating back to April 13, 2017.
“It’s our home, and we feel really confident here,” said Celia Scruton, Glenwood’s junior defender. “We’re in front of our home fans and on our field where we practice. We have advantage with our throw-ins and we just feel so much more confident at home. We have pride here, and it’s important for us to win here.”
Glenwood jumped on Eagle Valley quickly as freshman Ella Johnson scored the game’s first two goals in the opening five minutes, giving the fans in attendance a sign of things to come on the night.
“It was incredible for us as coaches to see that [early start],” said Calabrese. “We’ve been working on more of the mental side of things, so for them to build off of what happened Wednesday and come out the way they did today and sustain that for the majority of the game was fantastic. I couldn’t be happier with that.”
Johnson opened the scoring at the 3:02 mark, thanks to a throw-in along the left sideline by senior defender Ashley Weir. Johnson settled the throw-in and one-touched it to senior forward Levyn Thomas, who worked the give-and-go with Johnson, leaving the freshman wing streaking down the left sideline in on goal. Johnson fired a low, line-drive shot inside the left post for the 1-0 lead.
Nearly a minute later, Johnson made it 2-0 thanks to a throw-in from the right sideline by sophomore Reese Goluba. The throw-in found Johnson in the middle of the attacking box, where the freshman tapped home a rolling shot to the far left post for the 2-0 lead that took the wind out of the Devils’ sails early. Glenwood’s fast start wasn’t by accident either, as the experienced Demons weren’t overly happy with their performance Wednesday night at home against Palisade. That frustration coming out of a 3-0 win over Palisade led to the intensity level for the Demons being high at kickoff and led to a focused, balanced attack all game long.
“Everyone seemed to struggle mentally last night,” said Thomas. “So tonight as a team, we made a pact to have a more positive attitude and bring each other up. That really correlated to each player working really hard and focusing tonight. We ended up having good passes to feet and good touches; our simple, fundamental skills were good today, and that showed.”
“I thought we were much better tonight, honestly,” said Scruton. “Our energy was up, and players were talking to each other. We made it a goal to work on our energy, intensity, and communication tonight, and I feel like we were successful in doing that.”
Up 2-0, things really opened up for the Demons as Glenwood controlled possession throughout the game. Sophomore Tatum Lily had two great looks on goal via headers off of great throw-ins by Goluba, and junior Summer McSwain fired a shot off the crossbar midway through the first half off of a corner kick by Johnson.
Despite struggling to finish chances early and truly put the Devils away, Glenwood didn’t panic. That confidence paid off at the 26:42 mark as Thomas made it 3-0 for the Demons off of an assist from Lily.
Lily worked down the right wing and slipped around an Eagle defender along the back line to the right of the goal before firing a low cross through traffic to the left boot of Thomas. The senior teed up a shot that grazed off of the inside of the left post and into the goal for a 3-0 lead.
Eagle responded quickly, though, as junior Adie Schumacher took advantage of a Glenwood turnover deep in their own end and slipped a shot past diving Glenwood sophomore goalkeeper Abby Scruton to make it 3-1 with 10:14 left in the first half.
Glenwood atoned for the mistake late in the first half as freshman Sydney Reinhold, making her varsity debut for the Demons, received a cross into the box after a long run down the right sideline by senior Sierra McKinney and fired a shot inside the left post to make it 4-1. Reinhold’s goal came on her first varsity touch and was really set up by McKinney’s quick counter from defense to offense after a failed corner kick by the Devils.
“That’s the level of play that we want here,” said Calabrese. “When the younger girls come in and want to be part of the varsity program — this program — it takes a lot of work. That transition to be able to make an impact that young is an incredible thing to do. Our program is fostering those opportunities for girls like Sydney or Ella to come in and make the impact that they’re making.”
Holding a 4-1 lead coming out of the half, Glenwood continued to string together scoring chances, but Eagle senior goalkeeper Zoe Booth made a number of early saves in the first half on Goluba and Lily that kept the Devils close.
The Demons broke through in the second half as Johnson found Goluba in the box off of a corner kick for a header just underneath the crossbar at the 19:18 mark of the first half for a 5-1 lead.
Reinhold then put the finishing touches on the 6-1 win, sliding into the box to redirect a terrific cross from Thomas into the net for the 6-1 win.
“Their defense seemed to be pretty spread out,” said Thomas. “Our attacking forwards stayed out wide and dragged defenders outside, and that created a pretty big gap in the middle that were able to find that gap, play the ball through and get some crosses off and get chances on goal.”
With the win, Glenwood improves to 7-3 (6-2 in 4A WSL) on the season.
The Demons travel to Fruita Monument Saturday for a non-league battle with the 5A Wildcats at 11 a.m.
“We have to stay confident and believe in ourselves,” said Scruton. “We know we’re a good team and can play at that level, but we have to play how we play. We have to play Glenwood soccer because when we do, it’s really good.”
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