Rifle, Rams set for playoff openers on home fields

Staff Report

The Roaring Fork girls soccer team is in the postseason for the first time since coach Gail Rippe’s inaugural season five years ago. And, for the first time ever to Rippe’s knowledge, the game will be played on the Rams’ home field.

Roaring Fork, the Western Slope League No. 3 team, faces Intermountain League No. 4 Bayfield at 4 p.m. today at Roaring Fork High School in the regional round of the playoffs.

“It’s been a goal of ours for the last four years to make it back to the playoffs,” Rippe said. “The team’s loaded with seniors, so its really exciting for them to be able to play at home.”

The Rams have 11 seniors who haven’t tasted the soccer playoffs during their careers.

One of the key seniors will be Alyson Romanus, who will start in goal for the Rams. Romanus and fellow senior Jazz Leslie have platooned at the position all season and that could happen again today, according to Rippe.

“Both players have done a real good job in net and both have scored goals on the field for us,” Rippe said. “I’m confident either way we’ll be in good shape and it’s really nice to have a backup who is so competent.”

Offensively, it’s a pair of non-seniors leading the charge for Roaring Fork. Junior Erin Young and sophomore Megan Zeigel are the team’s leading scorers.

“I’m just really proud of the girls this year,” Rippe said. “They have worked hard and it’s been an interesting season with some ups and downs, but our record is better than it has been in a number of years.”

The winner of today’s game advances to the State Tournament next week.

Rifle vs. Brighton

Nobody likes playing at Rifle – with the exception of Rifle, that is.

The Rifle Bears girls soccer team earned the No. 2 spot out of the 4A Western Slope League and, with it, the home-field advantage for Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. regional-round contest against Brighton, the No. 4 team out of the Skyline League.

The Bears only lost one league contest on their home field this season and the smaller pitch suits Rifle’s physical style well.

Rifle (9-4-2) has been stellar defensively this season. With the exception of two games against WSL champion Steamboat Springs, Rifle didn’t give up more than three goals in a game.

It may be a tough task holding Brighton under wraps, though. The Bulldogs have two players with 15 goals or more and averaged over 3.5 goals per game.

The winner of Saturday’s game advances to the 4A State Soccer Tournament next week.

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