Roaring Fork looks to knock off No. 1

Staff Report

The Roaring Fork Rams girls soccer team had an easy 9-0 victory in the regional round of the postseason, but now the field has been cut to 16 teams for the Class 3A State Tournament.

In other words, there are no more easy games. And, for the Rams, there may be no games more difficult than their first-round contest.

The No. 16 seeded Rams play the underdog role today when they travel to the Front Range to take on No. 1 Kent Denver at 4:30 p.m.

“We’re as ready as we can be,” Roaring Fork coach Gail Rippe said.

“It is a little intimidating playing the No. 1 team, but it wasn’t entirely unanticipated on my part. It’s an honor to make it to the round of 16.”

Kent Denver, which plays in the Metro League, enters as the state’s No. 1 team after finishing the season 11-2-2.

The Sun Devils have been particularly stingy on defense, not giving up more than two goals in a game all season and holding their opponents scoreless nine times.

Roaring Fork (8-7-1), however, does have some momentum and confidence coming into the playoffs. The Rams are coming off their biggest offensive game of the season after defeating Bayfield 9-0 in the regional-round game Friday.

“It helped the confidence, and this year we have been doing better as far as scoring goals,” Rippe said.

Rippe also plans to play the team’s most skilled player, Erin Young, at midfield instead of sweeper to give the offense some added punch. Rippe is counting on Young and forward Brie Bath, who scored a career-high four goals against Bayfield, to find the cracks in the Sun Devils’ defense.

“I think Erin and Brie can really lead the charge to the net,” she said.

While Roaring Fork is the decided underdog in the contest, the Rams aren’t unaccustomed to playing the state’s top teams.

Roaring Fork played Western Slope League foes Basalt and Eagle Valley twice this season and both teams received a top-10 seed for the state tournament. League champion Basalt enters with the fifth seed, while Eagle Valley is No. 10.

The Rams lost all four games, but only one – an 8-0 loss to Basalt – was a serious blowout.

“(Those games) have been good preparation for us to play against a team like this,” Rippe said.

“It’s tough to come in at 16 and it’s a little scary,” she added. “But we’ve obviously got nothing to lose, and they’ve got their ranking to worry about.”

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