Pesky Bears stop Palisade; Demons roll on
Kendra Nash had lots of company Thursday afternoon. Every time she turned around, she ran into Bears, Bears, Bears.
With their pesky defense smothering Palisade’s all-league standout, the Rifle girls beat Nash and the Bulldogs 3-1 in a key 4A Western Slope League soccer match.
“Everything flows through No. 8 for them,” Rifle coach Tom Taucher said of Nash, the Palisade senior.
“When she came into anybody’s particular zone, we were going to play her tight and not let her dictate anything,” Taucher said of the Bears’ defensive scheme.
“That was one of our talking points at the beginning of the game.”
Nash did manage Palisade’s only goal of the match – on a direct kick from a difficult angle near the right sideline.
A natural left-footed kicker, Nash curled the ball into the Rifle net to tie the score 1-1 with just over 15 minutes remaining in the second half.
But Rifle immediately regained the lead – 90 seconds later – when Ashley Gavito converted a penalty kick, awarded with an intentional hand-ball call in the Palisade goalie box.
The lead for Rifle grew to 3-1 when Kira Harrison collected a ball at the side of the Palisade goal and directed it into the net with 6:55 to play.
“It was a good win for us; we had to have it to stay alive,” Taucher said of the Bears’ state playoff hopes.
Improving to 3-3-1 in the Western Slope League, the Bears moved up the conference standings and inched closer to a 4A playoff berth.
“Our keys are winning the 50-50 balls and the air war, and if we do that … if we outwork teams, we have a legitimate chance at beat anybody,” Taucher said of the key win at the Rifle Soccer Field.
“We kept it simple and capitalized on our chances,” he said, crediting goalkeeper Pam Schieldt with two huge saves for the Bears.
“One in the first half,” he said of Schieldt’s redirection of a shot from Nash just minutes into the match.
“And she made a diving save in the second half,” Taucher added. “You want your goalkeeper to come up with one or two that are game-savers and she did that.
“Pam was huge for us today,” Taucher added.
Rifle freshman Haley Hubbell scored the only goal of the first half. She put the Bears ahead 1-0 on a unique scramble play and shot. Her kick sailed up and over Palisade keeper Janet Barth midway through the first half – when the Bears outshot the Bulldogs 5-1.
The shots were basically even in the second half, with Rifle holding the edge 6-4.
Rifle will hit the road Saturday – prom Saturday – for an 11 a.m. match at Moffat County.
Glenwood 2, Battle Mountain 0
Glenwood Springs held onto first place in the 4A Western Slope League with a 2-0 win at Battle Mountain Thursday afternoon.
The Demons improved to 6-1-0 in league play, 8-2-0 overall.
Brieanne Rippy scored on a penalty kick for the Demons in the 10th minute of the match.
Glenwood’s second goal came after Rippy took a throw-in from Heather Hert. She dropped the ball to Ashley Jentzsch, who one-timed it into the Battle Mountain net from 25 yards out.
Keegan Nadon had the shutout victory in goal for the Demons.
Battle Mountain dropped to 2-4-0 in league play, 2-6-0 overall. The Huskies will play at Palisade on Saturday.
The Glenwood Springs girls soccer team will return to action Tuesday at Eagle Valley in a nonleague match.
Roaring Fork 4, CRMS 0
Roaring Fork rolled past Carbondale-rival CRMS 4-1 Thursday night on the RFHS field.
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