McSwain’s two goals leads Demons over Sailors on Senior Night
Two impressive goals off of set pieces from senior centerback Devan McSwain and a strong performance from freshman forward Tatum Lilly powered the Glenwood Springs Demons girls soccer team to a thrilling 4-1 win Thursday evening at Stubler Memorial Field over the visiting Steamboat Springs Sailors on Senior Night.
Coming into Thursday’s game, a lot was on the line for the Demons. With a history of slow starts and mental lapses during the 2018 season, none of those issues were present on the night, as Glenwood started fast, and never let up on the Sailors, rolling to the three-goal win.
Despite picking up the win, Glenwood had to wait out the final score of Battle Mountain-Palisade, which would determine the league championship. Battle Mountain won in double overtime, scoring the game-winning goal with just 33 seconds left, pushing the Huskies over the Demons in the league standings.
That didn’t put a damper on the mood though, as Glenwood played one of its best games of the season, start to finish, putting them in prime position for the 4A state playoffs.
“It was really good to see how this group started the game tonight,” Glenwood Springs Head Coach Joe Calabrese said following the win. “They were focused, and came to play.”
While Glenwood did start fast, the Sailors scored the first goal of the game, albeit in controversial fashion.
Following two huge saves by Glenwood junior goalkeeper Hannah Juul, the loose ball found Steamboat senior Teegan Ludwick, who tried to redirect the ball across the goal line. Glenwood junior defender Julia Mulhall made what appeared to be a spectacular play on the ball, clearing it out of harms way off the goal line, but as the play went the other way, the line judge blew his whistle late, awarding Steamboat a goal at the 24 minute mark.
The controversial goal didn’t phase Glenwood though, as the Demons picked up the pressure once again.
“If there’s anything special about this group, it’s the way they respond in times of adversity,” Calabrese said. “They’ve been doing it all season, and I’m really proud of them.”
McSwain got on the board just under three minutes later to knot the game up at 1-1, as the senior skied high for a header off of a corner kick from younger sister Summer, firing the header into the bottom right corner of the net through traffic, igniting the home crowd.
“Before this game, my mom was telling me about how my older sisters combined to score a goal on Senior Night, so Summer and I knew we had to keep that going,” McSwain said. “Right before the corner, I told Summer to go for my head. Normally, that doesn’t happen, but this one I saw coming right where I needed it. It was behind me a bit, but I was lucky the header went down into the corner.”
Tied at 1-1, the Demons continued to mount attack after attack, and nearly caused Steamboat to score on themselves, as senior Eryn Peterson tried to cross the ball into the box for Summer McSwain. Steamboat junior Lucy Wilson attempted to clear the ball out of her own box through the back line, but the ball nearly went in, grazing the right post and bouncing harmlessly away as Steamboat dodged a bullet.
With time winding down in the first half, Glenwood sophomore defender Celia Scruton, playing on her birthday, drew a foul on Steamboat, resulting in a free kick from Devan McSwain.
The senior lofted a perfectly-placed free kick into the box, where Lilly headed the ball backwards on goal, sneaking the shot past the Steamboat goalkeeper, giving Glenwood a 2-1 lead with 3:41 left in the half.
Coming out of the break, Glenwood struck quickly, as McSwain fired a free kick from 45 yards out into goal, slipping the shot just under the crossbar, giving Glenwood a 3-1 lead.
“I was so happy I finally hit the ball right [on a free kick],” McSwain said following the win. “Leading up to that free kick, I had been flying the ball well over the goal on those types of kicks, so to hit it right was just a relief.”
Holding a 3-1 lead, Glenwood continued to apply heavy pressure to the Steamboat goal, as Peterson fired a great strike on goal that the Steamboat keeper just got a hand on, tipping the shot high. Following a goalkeeper change for the Sailors, Glenwood wasted no time welcoming the new goalkeeper to the game, as Lilly forced a turnover on a goal kick, settling the ball down before placing a perfect throughball to sophomore Natalya Taylor, who gunned a shot to the far right post, giving the Demons a 4-1 lead with 16:11 left in the game.
“Tate is a great player,” Calabrese said. “She had an amazing night tonight for us off the bench.”
With the win in the season finale, Glenwood finishes the 2018 regular season with a 12-2 (9-2 4A Western Slope League) record on the season. At the time of press, Glenwood sits at No. 4 in the 4A RPI rankings. Official 4A state playoff bracket results will be released Sunday morning, but as things stand now, the Demons would host at least the first three games of the state playoffs, should they win in each round.
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It was a statement game featuring the two best boys basketball teams in the 4A Western Slope League on Saturday afternoon at the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium in Glenwood Springs. And, just like in the old western shootouts, it was the Glenwood Demons who had spoken the loudest when all the dust had settled with a key 58-44 win over the Steamboat Springs Sailors.