Rifle girls zip past RF in soccer kickoff
RIFLE – For a season-opener, the Rifle girls soccer girls could not have played better.
Meanwhile, Roaring Fork hopes that better comes soon.
A speedier Rifle team dismantled the young but leadership-starved Rams 5-0 Tuesday in a non-league game for both teams.
It didn’t take long for Rifle’s newcomers to step forward. Freshman Haley Hubbell almost scored the first time she touched the ball. In the third minute, Hubbell sped untouched inside the offensive zone for a clear shot on Roaring Fork goalie Allyson Romanus. The Ram junior kept Hubbell’s shot out of the net.
Romanus was not as fortunate the next time.
Nine minutes later, Hubbell managed to stay behind teammate Nicole Erpstead, while driving deep inside the penalty area. As Erpstead was dribbling down the right sideline the junior spotted her teammate, slipped the ball across to Hubbell, who finished the play by poking in her own rebound, after Romanus stopped the first blast, for a 1-0 Bear lead.
Late in the half, Hubbell drew oohs and aahs from the sparse group of fans who attended the contest.
Gathering the ball just inside the midfield stripe, the Bear freshman turned on the jets.
She whizzed by a pair of stunned Roaring Fork defenders who appeared to be glued to the grass, to close in on Romanus, who had stationed herself at the extreme top of the goalkeeper’s box.
Hubbell made the Ram keeper commit first.
The goalie dived to the ground in anticipation of Hubbell’s drive. She fooled the keeper with a touch shot that tantalizingly rolled toward the vacant low corner.
Thankfully, defender Erin Young had fallen back on the play, and reached the ball just in time to deflect it from entering the mesh.
“She’s got wheels, and she created a lot of dangerous opportunities in the first half,” Rifle coach Tom Taucher said of Hubbell.
But, the coach said, this year’s Bear team has speed in other positions too.
Even though Rifle fired 13 shots at Romanus in the first half, Taucher said the team’s work ethic in the first half was poor.
Meanwhile, Roaring Fork’s offense was invisible.
The Rams took a couple of weak shots at Rifle goalie Pam Schieldt before she was replaced by Brandy Lag in the second half.
Overall, Rifle outshot Roaring Fork 17-4, and the Rams were beaten by the 51st minute.
Sophomore Brenda Cruz scored inside the low post on a backup from Ira Harrison in the 46th minute and Erpstead added the Bears’ third goal of the game with a spin move from the right side that slipped inside the near right post.
Three minutes later, junior Gerri Legg raised Rifle’s lead to 4-0. Jessica Stilton scored the game’s final goal on a nice one-touch, redirected shot with 11:51 remaining.
“We want to attack a lot more, and push the ball up the field,” Taucher said of the team’s new-look offense.
“In the past, out of necessity, we’ve had to stress defense and go for those 1-0 games. But, I think as this team matures, and they play against some of the tougher teams, I think over the long period they could be a very good team.”
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