Rifle rolls to victory over 5A Grand Junction
By Phil SandovalPost Independent Staff
RIFLE – Rifle’s willingness to stretch the field on a first-half throw-in broke a scoreless tie for the Bears, who downed Grand Junction 3-1 Thursday.”We attack off of everything – throw-ins, corner kicks, any reset that we can go to goal, we’re going to,” Rifle coach Tom Taucher said when recalling senior Alex Van Englenburg’s goal, which brushed inside the far near post in the 31st minute. That set the tone in the season opener for both teams, and Rifle notched the nonleague win.The goal came off Stuart Stapleton’s cross-field throw-in from three yards inside the right wing penalty area.”That play was a something that we’ve put a little time into. Alex was there and he did a good job,” Taucher said.
And, as a whole, the 4A Bears did a good job against the 5A Tigers. In fact, the only offense Grand Junction had in the game came on a Rifle mistake in the second half.After Sean Melody raised the Bears lead to 2-0 in the 42nd minute, Grand Junction scored its lone goal on Jason Johnson’s penalty kick after a foul in the penalty area.”Giving up the PK kind of took the wind out of our sails. We were never threatened by Junction” Taucher said. “But, we never really got back into the flow of our game.”
Still, the Bears, who outshot the Tigers 17-3, managed to add an insurance goal with nine minutes left when Seth Martin converted a Melody pass.Except for the penalty kick, Rifle goalkeeper Derek Roberts never faced a serious challenge from the Tigers.”Derek deserved the shutout,” Taucher said. “I don’t like giving up any goals, but defensively we were sound, and Junction didn’t have any looks at all.”Rifle travels to Montrose Tuesday before opening the Western Slope League season Thursday at home against Glenwood Springs.Rifle travels to Montrose Tuesday before opening the Western Slope League season Thursday at home against Glenwood Springs.
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