Prep soccer: Titans tower over Cardinals
PEACH VALLEY — Being satisfied isn’t something the Coal Ridge High School girls soccer team does very well. That was evident on Thursday, and it came at the expense of the Grand Valley Cardinals.
Sam Dunn notched a hat trick and Molly Mello scored a pair of goals for the Titans, who dominated every phase of the game on their way to a 9-0 Class 3A/2A Western Slope League victory against the Cardinals at The Pasture in a rematch of a second-round state playoff game from last season.
“Everyone wants to go to that state championship, and I think we have the ability to do that,” Mello said. “As long as we keep playing like we did today, we’ll have a chance at that.
“Coach always says for us to never be satisfied,” Mello continued. “You can always be doing something better as an individual to make the team better.”
Coal Ridge (6-2-0 overall, 5-0-0 Class 3A/2A Western Slope League play) went up for good about four minutes into the game and never played like it was satisfied, staying on the attack until the final whistle en route to staying on top of the league standings. The Titans, by the way, entered the game as the sixth-ranked team in the CHSAAnow.com Class 3A girls soccer poll.
Mello capped the Titans’ first-half scoring with her goal in the 34th minute, then started the scoring again in the 48th minute when she bounced a goal past Grand Valley goalie Kallista Lewis for a 6-0 lead. Then just seven minutes later, Dunn’s shot from 30 yards away from the left side to the far-right corner of the net resulted in her third goal of the game.
Meanwhile, Santana Martinez, Jenny Call and Nicole Mooney also found the back of the net for a Coal Ridge team that is trying to win its third consecutive league championship differently than Titans teams of recent years had done it.
“It makes a difference when we have skilled players all over the field and not just one dominant player,” Herron said. “We’re really focusing on working together to be successful. We’ve done that so far up until now, but I think that things really clicked today.”
The loss for the Cardinals (2-4-0 overall, 2-3-0 league play) was their fourth straight, which is the team’s longest winless drought since the 2010 season. The injury bug has hit Grand Valley hard, however, with all-league senior defender Jordan Scott out due to a strained medial collateral ligament and starting junior defender Samara Call also out due to injury.
Grand Valley, by the middle of the second half, had moved all-league senior striker Kyra Chenoweth into the sweeper position to lesson the damage. It worked for a little bit until the 68th minute, when a long shot from a Coal Ridge player deflected off a Grand Valley player from 15 yards away into the net for the Titans’ final goal of the game.
“I can see that some of the seniors are getting pretty frustrated, which is understandable since they’ve been to the [state] playoffs back to back years,” second-year Grand Valley coach Scott Gregory said. “They’re doing a good job of keeping their heads up, but it’s unfortunate that the seniors have to take these kind of losses in their last year.”
Playing a courageous game under the circumstances was Grand Valley freshman goalkeeper Lewis, who finished the game with 23 saves. Brooke Esgar earned the shutout in goal for Coal Ridge and had two saves.
The Titans play again on Saturday when they host Class 4A Glenwood Springs. Grand Valley will try to bounce back on Saturday when the Cardinals play at Rifle.
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