Glenwood Springs soccer cruises past Rifle
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – It’s only two weeks into the season, and already a lot has changed for the Glenwood Springs boys soccer team.
On Saturday, as the Demons were putting the finishing touches on a five goal first half, their strong defensive play and general overall team cohesiveness looked light years ahead of the display shown against Grand Junction Central.On the same field where they had surrendered six goals to the Warriors on Aug. 28, this improved edition of the Demons ran out to a 5-0 lead against the Rifle Bears in the first half and put on the cruise control in the second to coast to a 6-0 shutout victory.Glenwood Springs (3-2 overall, 2-1 4A Western Slope League) head coach John Mount really likes the changes made to the defensive unit.”We got some leadership back there by moving Ryan [Young] back from striker,” Mount said. “He was humble enough to take that position back there as a sweeper and has done exceptionally well. “He has taken over as a leader on our team.”The improved defense has clearly been the difference on this Demons squad. Led by the senior Young, and boosted by the play of freshman Mike McGraw and junior Gerritt Brown, the defense on Saturday continually disrupted the Bears’ offensive runs, holding Rifle to just 4 shots on goal the entire contest.
Conversely, Travis Whitman led a scoring barrage by the Demons in the first half with a hat trick. Ryan Buchanan, Clay Hawkins and Young also got in on the action for Glenwood.It was Whitman’s day, though, as he got the Demons on the board in the seventh minute of the match after making a long run on the near sideline, cutting across to the goal near the endline and zipping a shot by the Bears keeper in the far corner. Perhaps the biggest benefactor of the changes, Whitman swapped positions with Young enabling him to return to a more familiar position – striker. “I love striking, that’s where I’ve been playing my entire childhood,” Whitman admitted. “I was mainly just frustrated after the first four games, couldn’t get them in the net, just missing opportunities. So it felt good to finally get some goals in the net and gain some confidence.”The second Glenwood goal came after some fine passing set up Whitman in front of the goal again, yet this time his shot found the Rifle goalie who was unable to hang on and the subsequent rebound was perfectly placed for the trailing Buchanan to clean up from 5 yards out for perhaps the easiest goal he’ll ever score.
It was that kind of day for the Demons offense. Some excellent balls and perhaps poor play by the Rifle keeper and before you knew it, Whitman scored again (26th minute), followed by Hawkins (32nd) and Young (33rd).Whitman completed his hat trick two minutes into the second half when the Bears were unable to clear and instead lost possession deep in their own zone, and he was able to capitalize on their mistake. “I think today really was built off of the defense,” added Mount. “It was initiated from the defense. We were able to slow it down, play our possession game and just execute passes. … I was really impressed with them today.”The win pushes Glenwood over .500 for the first time all season and gives them some momentum in the form of a three-game winning streak as they enter a very important fourth week of the season with matches against Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.