Own goal butts Rams from soccer playoffs
LAKEWOOD — A tough defensive effort for Roaring Fork kept third-ranked Colorado Academy out of the goal for 80 minutes of 3A soccer playoff action Friday afternoon, but for a bit of misfortune midway through the second half that sent the Rams packing with a 1-0 season-ending loss.
Roaring Fork, ranked 30th coming into the playoffs and the fifth team out of the Western Slope League, had the host Mustangs on their heels for most of a clean game that saw few penalties.
A head shot inside the 6 by senior Axel Palomera with a little over 20 minutes to play just missed, and several saves by Rams goalie Jaciel Carreno kept the game scoreless.
The critical mishap came with 19:40 to play when sophomore defender Max Candela, in an effort to clear the ball from the goalie box, accidentally sliced it into Roaring Fork’s own goal. The Rams kept the pressure up through the final quarter of play, but couldn’t quite find the opposite net.
“I feel like this is kind of a microcosm for our season,” Roaring Fork Head Coach Nick Forbes said. “We play excellent soccer throughout the game, and then we make one minor error and it costs us.
“We’ve been struggling to finish, and that happened again today.”
The Rams had their chances, controlling the ball through the first 12 minutes of play before a disciplined Colorado Academy team went on the attack, only to be turned away on several solid shots.
Palomera broke behind the defense with six minutes left in the first and fired a rocket past Mustangs keeper Connor Wharton, only to have the goal nullified by an off sides call.
Following the own goal, sophomore midfielder Liam Laird almost bent one in from the 18, but the ball sailed high over the crossbar.
“I think we created as many chances as they did,” Forbes said. “We just couldn’t put it in the back of the net, and that’ll hurt you. Our defense is really strong, but if you don’t score …”
Still, “No one expected us to come in and show them that we can play,” Forbes said, adding that with just four seniors on this year’s squad the future is bright for a young Rams team.
Roaring Fork closes out the season at 10-6 overall, and went 5-4 in a tough 3A WSL.
Playing their last game in a Rams uniform were seniors Palomera, Nick Penzel, Christian Alvarado and Lorenzo Andrade.
Colorado Academy faces St. Mary’s, 2-0 winners over The Pinnacle on Friday, in today’s second round of the state playoffs.
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