Playoff-bound Glenwood tops Rifle
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – All signs pointed toward a blowout.
Playoff-bound Glenwood Springs entered with an 8-3-4 overall record, while Rifle came in looking to a score its first win of the season in its final game.
And the Demons had dominated the teams’ previous meeting, winning 6-0 in Rifle back on Sept. 19.
But the Bears showed they have some quality soccer in them on Thursday, holding their own with the host Demons in a 2-0 loss at Stubler Memorial Field.
“They gave it a lot of heart today,” said Rifle coach Ryan Mahler, whose boys soccer team ended its season with an 0-14-1 overall record and 0-11-1 mark in the 4A Western Slope League. “We had a couple opportunities in the first half where I thought we should have put it away, but, you know.”
In the end, Glenwood just had a little too much firepower.
Sydney Van Horn put the Demons on top in the 32nd minute, thanks in large part to the efforts of teammate Hunter Brown, who motored through the Rifle defense deep into the left flat. Brown’s charge forced Bears goalkeeper Keith McCutchan to challenge. Taking full advantage of the situation, Brown directed a short pass to Van Horn, who, positioned right in front of the goal, nudged a point-blank shot into an open net.
“That was a good pass from Hunter,” Van Horn said.
Rifle kept it close until the 62nd minute, when Glenwood’s Mike McGraw took a pass, sped past the defense and lofted a long shot over the head of a charging McCutchan. Erik Pena assisted.
The win gave the Demons an 8-3-4 overall record and 6-3-3 league mark to take into the 32-team Class 4A state playoffs, which begin on Tuesday. Glenwood will learn its draw on Sunday. As the fourth-place team in the 4A WSL, the Demons will likely be seeded in the high 20s. Maybe even in the 30s.
Glenwood is in the playoffs for a sixth straight year. After a season of dealing with injuries to two key senior forwards – Van Horn and Travis Whitman – the Demons are more than happy to be where they’re at.
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs,” said Glenwood coach John Mount, in his third year as the program’s frontman. “To finish our regular season like this is huge. It’s good to see all the seniors playing well. They got to play most of the game and they held their own.”
Ten seniors – Van Horn, Whitman, Pena, Danny Weller, Carlos Ramirez, Carson Wilde, Taylor Mays, Freddie Ruiz, Garrett Brown and Clay Hawkins – were honored at Thursday’s game, the last home showing for each of them.
“We’re going to miss these guys,” said Mount, who’s coached those seniors since he joined the program as an assistant coach back in 2006. “I’ve had all these guys since they were ninth-graders, so it’s kind of emotional. It’s been good to be with them. There’s a real brotherhood on this team. These guys really bond on and off the field.”
Elsewhere on the Western Slope Thursday, Steamboat Springs defeated Moffat County, 3-0, to secure its first league title since 2001.
The Sailors finished in a tie with Battle Mountain atop the standings. Both teams were 8-0-4 in league. Battle Mountain and Steamboat played to draws in both of their meetings, meaning the title was decided by a second tiebreaker – the teams’ record against the next best team in the league. Steamboat was 2-0-0 against Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain was 0-0-2 against the Devils.
Battle Mountain tied Eagle Valley, 0-0, on Thursday, to close out its regular season.
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After a rough stretch through the middle of February, the Glenwood Springs High School boys hockey team is back in postseason contention following three straight wins.