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Hanging with a tough crowd

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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RIFLE – Don’t tell the RIfle Bears they’re not supposed to hang with the Class 4A Western Slope League’s top girls soccer teams, and don’t let their 2-9 record fool you. Rifle made a statement on Thursday, holding its own with visiting Steamboat Springs in a 2-0 loss.Early on, it appeared Steamboat would coast. Less than 10 minutes in, Amanda DeVos booted home a goal off an assist from Lauren Letson.But, the Bear defense tightened – and the offense applied steady pressure – to keep the hosts within striking distance for the duration.

It took Colleen King pouncing on a rebound just over midway through the second half to ice the victory. Rifle goalkeeper Kadie LaRocque initially made a sprawling stop of Shannon King’s bulleted shot-on-goal, but the shot’s zip kept a grounded LaRocque from covering the rebound and left King with a wide-open net.LaRocque manned net for the first time in three games, and her team seemed to embrace her presence.”From day one we knew we could play with anyone, but I think our confidence waned a bit losing Kadie for three games,” Bears coach Tom Taucher said. “We had to move kids around to different positions and it was sort of a domino effect. It was nice to be able to get Kadie back into goal and (backup goalkeeper) Jessica (Widmer) back to midfield.”Rifle showed fight – and a little frustration – with physical play down the stretch. Clearly, the Bears are itching to turn the corner on a disappointing season.

“I think our team had a lot of jump,” Rifle’s Caitlin Clay said. “I think we’ve hit the point where we know what we’re capable of and we’re doing so many great things. We’re just ready to show everyone what we’re capable of doing.”Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann wasn’t surprised by the slimmer-than-expected margin of victory.”I think Rifle always puts up a good fight on their home field,” he said.Still, Bohlmann would have liked a little more intensity from his team, now 9-1-1.



“I think our biggest issue is that our play has been a bit stale,” he explained. “The work off the ball has been a little lax. Our passion of play is down. I think we’re just going through one of those cycles right now. Our play isn’t horrendous and it isn’t great. It’s just the rigors of a long season.”On the flip side, Taucher saw one of the Bears’ top efforts in terms of intensity.”We played not a complete game, but we played well,” he said. “We made a lot of good soccer plays and we made Steamboat earn it.”Just one thing eluded Taucher and his Bears.Said the coach: “We just didn’t get the goal.”


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