Second-half burst leads Glenwood Springs soccer over Rifle
A second-half scoring burst that saw four goals in four minutes led the host Glenwood Springs Demons to a 10-0 win over the visiting Rifle Bears on a frigid Thursday evening at Stubler Memorial Field.
Glenwood senior Malia Baltzer started the second-half scoring burst for the Demons at the 22:16 mark of the second half, tracking down a through-ball from sophomore Reese Goluba, beating the Rifle goalkeeper with a low line-drive shot inside the far left post, sparking the Demons’ attack on the cold night.
A minute after Baltzer’s goal, senior Levyn Thomas fired home a shot off the left post and in off of a cross, making it 6-0, before Goluba made it 7-0 a minute later on a low, thunderous shot from 18 yards out that beat the Rifle keeper inside the near right post.
Thomas then added the eighth goal off of a corner kick from Summer McSwain, before Baltzer struck again on a curling, left-footed shot into the upper right corner of the net with 13 minutes to go for the hat trick, making it 9-0. Sophomore Tatum Lilly closed out the win in stoppage time with a 20-yard shot that redirected off of a Rifle defender and into the net for the 10-0 win.
Glenwood had a number of chances in the game against Rifle, building from the back and working the ball up to underclassmen speedsters in Lilly, freshman Ella Johnson and sophomore Maya Elias.
“It certainly helps out and it makes it easier to keep possession and be more dangerous,” said Joe Calabrese, Glenwood’s head coach. “It’s critical to our success to build our attack from the girls in the back, and they did an outstanding job today of pushing the ball forward.”
Prior to the strong second half by Glenwood, the Demons jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just minutes into the game as Lilly buried a feed from junior Celia Scruton, sparking Glenwood’s attack quickly.
Rifle weathered the initial storm, though, thanks to some incredible goalkeeping by sophomore Emily Vines, who stopped Lilly 10 minutes into the game on a penalty kick, before coming up with a number of clutch saves in the box to keep the Demons off the board.
Johnson, a standout freshman for the Demons, figured out Vines at the 19:21 mark of the first half as the freshman headed a corner kick from left to right from McSwain just under the crossbar for the Demons’ second goal of the game and a 2-0 lead.
With the 2-0 lead, Glenwood continued to mount attack after attack, but Vines stood tall in goal, turning a number of shots aside for the Bears, including three great chances for Lilly on long runs. Vines challenged shooters repeatedly and came up with some huge saves for Rifle, keeping the Bears within striking distance.
Baltzer made it 3-0 Glenwood at the 29:07 mark, tracking down a well-placed through-ball through the middle of Rifle’s defense from McSwain, outrunning two Rifle defenders and firing a shot over a sliding Vines into the far left corner of the net for the three-goal lead. Johnson then made it 4-0 with 3:03 left in the first half, running down a through-ball from junior Zeva Carruth, sending the Demons into the half with a four-goal lead, leading to the strong second half.
As the Demons continued to mount chances in the second half Vines stood tall in net, shutting down a number of high-danger scoring chances for the Demons. Midway through the second half Vines again challenged Lilly on a breakaway and stopped the Demon sophomore, but the Rifle sophomore was injured on the play, forcing freshman Bailey Braun into net for the Bears.
Braun stood tall early, punching away two scoring chances for the Bears, but the Demons were just too much to handle down the stretch for the young Bears.
“We’ve known since the beginning of the season that the strength of the team starts with the two goalkeepers,” said Jeremy Harrison, Rifle’s head coach. “They’re just tough, tough kids. They’re young, and with Emily she just continues to get better every single week. It’s great to know that Bailey can step in and be serviceable. I’m really proud of those two, and all of the kids overall.”
The win sees Glenwood improve to 5-2 (4-1 in 4A WSL) on the season. Rifle falls to 0-8 (0-6 in 4A WSL).
“We know we have some challenges that other programs might not have,” said Harrison. “But Glenwood is a great team and can compete with anyone in the state. We got better today as a result of playing them.”
Rifle returns to action next Tuesday in a home game against Eagle Valley, while Glenwood travels to rival Battle Mountain Saturday for a monumental 4A WSL showdown against the Huskies.
“The game itself, and the history between the two teams over the last four years since I’ve been here will have the girls ready to play,” said Calabrese. “We are immediately refocused after this game against Rifle and we’re all looking forward to that matchup Saturday; it should be exciting.”
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