Glenwood soccer shuts out rival Rifle in 4-0 win
Glenwood Springs’ boys soccer team hoped to get through Tuesday’s battle on the road with Rifle unscathed leading up to Thursday’s star-studded showdown against Battle Mountain at home. Sports has an odd way of laying waste to plans as the Demons were dealt some heavy adversity late in the first half of Tuesday’s 4-0 win as freshman centerback Cameron Burt was hurt on a physical play out of bounds from Rifle senior Andres Guerrero, leading to a red card while losing a promising young defender for an unknown period of time.
The Demons showed maturity and resolve, scoring three goals in the second half against the short-handed Bears to cruise to the 4-0 win, setting up a Thursday’s showdown.
“Our guys are mentally tough,” Wayne Smith, Glenwood’s veteran head coach, said following the win. “They were pretty upset to see their teammate go down the way Cameron did, but they pulled together at the half and came out and scored three goals. They’re just so mentally tough and focused as a group.”
Once Burt went down late in a first half that was tightly contested, the Demons took a 1-0 lead thanks to senior Alan Videla’s penalty kick strike, sending the two teams into the half with Glenwood up 1-0.
Without one of its top defenders, the Demons clamped down on Rifle’s attack in the second half, which opened up scoring chances going the other way for the Demons.
Senior German Alvarado, Glenwood’s leading goal-scorer last season, struck in the second half for a 2-0 lead, thanks to an assist from senior Angel Bernal.
Later in the first half, Alvarado returned the favor to Bernal, combining on a give-and-go for a 3-0 lead, before senior Justin Garces put the final touches on the 4-0 win with a strike off of an assist from Videla.
“You try, especially in those circumstances [down a man], to not change the way you play,” David Romero, Rifle’s head coach said. “I have to hand it to Glenwood, they came in and played pretty hard. We didn’t put it together defensively tonight; we made some adjustments a little too late, but we just broke down.”
Trailing 4-0, Rifle didn’t blink, instead mounting a number of chances late in the second half due to some impressive play from young players off the bench.
“We had a flurry of chances late,” Romero said. “We had hardly any shots on goal in the first half, but in the second half we made some adjustments and some guys came off the bench and worked hard for us. They started to win the ball and had some counterattacks. That was really the difference for us offensively in the second half that woke us up a bit.”
The late chances didn’t lead to a goal though, as Glenwood senior centerback Mitchell Burt and senior goalkeeper Carlos Guardado turned away the Bears, ensuring the clean sheet for the Demons.
“We showed great composure getting another shutout and dealing with some adversity today,” Smith said. “I think it was a good challenge for us; frankly, Rifle is quite improved. We expected it to be a tough game, and it certainly was. We scored four good goals, three of which were created and assisted on, so we were able to generate a well-orchestrated attack. Coming off the Central game on Saturday, we hoped we broke out of our scoring drought for a bit, and that was the case today.”
Sitting at 6-0-1 on the year, Glenwood has to heal up quickly before Thursday’s pivotal showdown under the lights at Stubler Memorial Field against the fierce Battle Mountain Huskies. Battle Mountain comes in at 7-0 and sits atop the 4A RPI rankings, while Glenwood sits 13th in the RPI rankings. Last season’s home battle in late October with Battle Mountain ended in a 2-0 win for the Huskies, which clinched an undefeated season in league play for the 4A Western Slope powerhouse under head coach David Cope. Glenwood hopes to avenge that home loss on Thursday while upsetting one of the top teams in the state.
“Battle’s going to be an excellent team,” Smith said. “They’re number one right now with a great goal scorer and great keeper. It’s going to be a tough game, but that’s fun to play tough games and quality opponents.”
Rifle (2-3, 2-2 in 4A WSL) hosts Palisade Saturday in another 4A WSL tilt.
“I’m definitely proud of these guys, they’re working hard,” Romero said. “We definitely were hoping for more effort from some key players today, so that’s what we’re going to be talking about moving forward. The score can get run up on you down a man, but we rallied down a man, which was great to see. I’m really proud of those guys for coming off the bench and making it happen. They’re young, so we’re happy to see those guys step in and push us.”
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