Rams can’t contain Crusaders
By G. Sean Kelly
GSPI Sports Editor
CARBONDALE – The Roaring Fork girls soccer team kept Chrissy West and the high-powered Denver Christian offense in check for 35 minutes, but once the Crusaders notched their first goal, the floodgates burst open.
Denver Christian tallied two goals in the final two minutes of the first half and West, who racked up 21 goals during the regular season, opened the second stanza with three consecutive scores as the Crusaders downed Roaring Fork 6-0 in a Class 3A regional playoff game here Saturday.
“We expected this attack,” Roaring Fork coach Brad Zeigel said. “They just have such a nice first touch.”
Roaring Fork dropped all but two attack players deep into the defensive zone to contain a Crusader offense that averaged more than four goals a contest during the regular season.
The tactic kept Denver Christian off the board early, but it cost the Rams offensively. Roaring Fork had a difficult time sustaining any pressure and when the Rams were able to make a run Denver Christian goalie Kiley Gill was there playing almost as an extra sweeper.
“Our attack was almost there,” Zeigel said. “We just weren’t getting that one break.”
Gill was only forced to make one save in the first half, compared to nine shots turned away by Whitney Campbell. Campbell, however, did benefit from solid play in front of her as the Rams defenders kept Denver Christian’s shooters out of the kill zone early in the half.
Rams: see page 15
“They’re used to scoring a lot of goals, so (we were hoping) to get under their skin by shutting them down,” Zeigel said.
The Crusaders’ frustration ended in the 35th minute when Alexis Kirkman took advantage of a Roaring Fork turnover and streaked down the left wing for a goal.
Michelle Koele gave Christian a 2-0 lead less than two minutes later, heading in a corner kick from Kelsey Carmichael.
The second-half was all West.
The junior forward scored in the less than two minutes after intermission, then added goals in the 55th and 63rd minutes.
Koele wrapped up the scoring with her second goal of the game coming in the final three minutes.
Denver Christian (11-4), of the Metropolitan League, advances to next Class 3A State Tournament.
Roaring Fork finishes the season with a record of 5-6. The Rams graduate only four seniors – Brooke Zigurs, Morgan Welch and captains Tarn Udall and Erin Young – but they are players who will be difficult to replace.
“(The seniors) just really play out there,” Zeigel said. “Then having Tarn and Erin up the middle of the field is solid. We’re going to miss them.””(The seniors) just really play out there,” Zeigel said. “Then having Tarn and Erin up the middle of the field is solid. We’re going to miss them.”
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.