No. 2 Kent ends Roaring Fork’s playoff run, 3-1 |

No. 2 Kent ends Roaring Fork’s playoff run, 3-1

Roaring Fork senior Hassan Vallejo works the ball against a Kent Denver defender Saturday afternoon in the Rams' 3-1 loss to the No. 2 Sun Devils in the Class 3A state soccer quarterfinals.
John Stroud | Post Independent

A strong second-half showing wasn’t quite enough to overcome a two-goal deficit for the No. 23 Roaring Fork High School boys soccer team Saturday at No. 2 Kent Denver, as the Rams dropped a 3-1 decision to the Sun Devils in the quarterfinals of the 3A playoffs.

Two goals by Kent sophomore Layton Purchase, one in each half, proved too much for the young Rams team to bounce back from, despite a stiff corner wind at their backs for the final 45 minutes that made for some wild plays.

Roaring Fork junior Max Candella cashed in on a free kick from just outside the 18 in the 54th minute, bending a high shot over Sun Devils goalie Joey Waldbaum’s outstretched arms to pull the Rams to within a goal, 2-1.

Purchase found the net for his second goal of the afternoon with just under 20 minutes to play, and the tally held up despite several opportunities for the talented Carbondale team to make it a game as time ticked away.

“They’re a very good team, very disciplined, and they hold their shape well,” Roaring Fork coach Nick Forbes said of the three-time state champion Sun Devils who play in the power-packed 3A Metro League.

“I do feel like, incisively, we had more chances than they did, we just didn’t take them when they came,” Forbes said. “That just kills you if you get five chances and don’t put it away, and they have maybe three or four and put three in the goal.”

The Rams came out a little flat to start the game, never getting a good look until 30 minutes in. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils got on the scoreboard first in the 12th minute when sophomore Max Hewitt got behind the defenders on a floater into the wind after Kent cleared the ball following a Roaring Fork corner kick. Hewitt came in from the right and slid the ball past Rams goalkeeper Leo Loya to give Kent the all-important 1-0 advantage

“We have a tendency to kind of start slow and cagey, and we’re working on that as coaches,” Forbes said. “We’ve gotten away with it earlier in the playoffs, but not against a team like this.

“We had a really strong last three-quarters of the game, we just couldn’t overcome it,” he said. “We put ourselves in position, and you just hope the ball bounces your way. If it doesn’t, you pack up and it’s the end of the season.”

With a junior-heavy roster this year, Forbes has high hopes the Rams can take it to the next level in the 2018 season.

“The coaches are very excited with this group that’s coming up,” Forbes said. “One or two more steps, and I think we have a shot at it next year.”

The playoff loss for Roaring Fork did mark the last game for several seniors playing in a Rams jersey, many of whom have been together since Carbondale club league. They include Jaciel Carillo, Marco Ramos, Trevor Stroud, Camilo Guevara-Stone, Mikel Mayo, Luis Medena, Edwin Candela and Hassan Vallejo.

Meanwhile, Kent makes yet another trip to the state semifinals on Wednesday against No. 3 Colorado Academy, 4-0 winners Saturday over No. 27 Salida. The only other Western Slope League representative in the quarterfinals, Delta, lost 3-2 Saturday to Colorado Springs Christian.

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