League play tougher for RF this year
Post Independent Staff
CARBONDALE ” Lower scores and overtime games have replaced the blowouts of the past Roaring Fork-Rangely girls soccer matchups.
“I knew this Rangely team was a different group than we played last year,” said Rams coach Brad Ziegel after Tuesday’s 0-0 double-overtime tie. “When we played last year, we got goals whenever we wanted to. Tonight, it was not that way at all ” their defense, their goalkeeping ” everything was much tighter.”
Although the quality of the Panthers’ play has improved, Roaring Fork (2-1-3 league and overall) spent most of the afternoon on Rangely’s side of the field.
“We’ve been working on this style of play of getting numbers behind the ball,” he said. “And when we play a team like this, we had some real (offensive) opportunities. It’s not the frantic, intense play ” it’s more controlled.”
Slowing down the pace allowed Roaring Fork more time on the opponent’s end of the field and more shots on goal ” seven to Rangely’s four.
The problem was none got into the Panthers’ net.
“The final third of the field is the hardest part to have success in at the high school level,” said Ziegel. “We do have players who have the instinct and natural ability to finish. But they’re freshmen. I can’t wait to see them grow into those positions.”
That explains why it took Roaring Fork two-thirds of the game to produce its most dangerous scoring threat.
Abbi Lane and Cathy Vega had clean back-to-back attempts on goal. Panthers goalie Kirstin Cushman snared both of them. Two Amy Anderson cornerkicks barely missed connecting with teammates in the penalty area.
Whitney Campbell provided the balance of the Rams’ offense, all on well-placed free kicks outside the penalty area, that Rangely harmlessly turned away.
After hitting the crossbar with a shot in the 12th minute, the Panthers failed to muster a determined push against Roaring Fork’s defense.
Rangely was 0-for-4 on cornerkicks in the second half and the 10-minute overtime period. Campbell, who replaced the Rams’ starting keeper ” Nicole Smeins ” batted away a Panther shot headed to the near, high corner in the 59th minute.
Ziegel sees the deadlock as a good tune-up for the Rams’ showdown with WSL leader Basalt Thursday.
“Our schedule’s been laid out so the games keep getting tougher and tougher,” the coach said. “We asked the girls, ‘Can you play better every game?’ That’s the challenge. Today, they certainly played better. We’re stepping up a little bit every time and a tie’s all right.”
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