Rifle soccer team ties Steamboat on late goal
Just one time.
One key defensive stand. One quick counterattack.
One timely crossing pass from Geri Legg.
One precise, unstoppable shot from in front by Ashley Gavito.
One Rifle goal; a come-from-behind goal; and eventually a hard-fought one-one tie with Steamboat Springs in an early soccer showdown in the 4A Western Slope League. A 1-1 double-overtime tie.
The homestanding Bears, back on the field after a frustrating nonleague loss to Grand Junction Central, tied the Sailors on Gavito’s goal from the top of the box with 7:35 remaining in Saturday afternoon’s sun-soaked match.
Steamboat Springs, considered one of the league favorites entering the season and ranked No. 9 in the state, scored first late in the first half on a rebound goal.
Nikki Garth blasted the first shot and Anya Allen netted the bouncing rebound for a goal and a 1-0 lead with 12 minutes to play in the opening 20 minute-half.
After Gavito’s tying shot late, two scoreless five-minute overtimes followed and the match ended 1-1.
Shots, too, were virtually even with the Sailors credited with 13 and Bears 11.
“The work rate was tremendous,” Rifle coach Tom Taucher said of the pesky Bears, who battled back from the one-goal deficit.
“Today they executed virtually everything we wanted,” Taucher said. “Wherever red (Steamboat) had the ball, there was always white (Rifle) around the ball,” he said of the Bears hustling defense that included plays from Katie Legg, Tori Johnson, Anna Petersen and others in front of goalkeeper Pam Schieldt.
Taucher also credited hustling play from Ashley Morrick off the bench for the Bears.
“Our girls just ran and ran and ran and ran,” Taucher said. “Red (Steamboat) really couldn’t get into a rhythm. They couldn’t build like they like to,” he said.
“As we mature and our strikers get better and better, they’re going to start putting in more goals,” The veteran Rifle girls soccer coach said.
“It was a good league start.”
Rifle worked a variety of personnel on Saturday, with contributsions from Amy Daley, Brenda Cruz, Nicole Erpstad, Ali Little, Haley Hubbell, Alicia Kuhns, Keri Bronschlegel and others.
Steamboat Springs coach Rob Bohlmann credited Rifle’s late transition goal with hustling effort and a great shot.
“It was a great finish,” Bohlmann said of Gavito’s goal. “There’s nothing you can. It’s just great soccer.”
The Sailor were playing without three senior starters, including last year’s conference player of the year, Lia Utu.
She missed the match with a sprained left ankle.
Senior Casidy Kurtz also did not play on Saturday.
And starting goalkeeper Kelley Asbury, according to Bohlmann, is sitting out because of transcript issues from a foreign exchange semester in France last year.
Rifle’s girls are now 0-0-1 in the Western Slope League, 1-1-1 overall.
Steamboat’s girls are 1-0-1 in league play, including a 10-0 win over Moffat County on Thursday. The Sailors are 2-2-1 overall.
Rifle will play at Palisade on Tuesday, April 2, before hosting Battle Mountain on Thursday, April 4, and Moffat County on Saturday, April 6.
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