Skiers show Titans how it’s done
PEACH VALLEY – There’s young, and then there’s too young.It’s a problem Coal Ridge athletic teams are currently struggling through and will continue to battle for a couple more years.The Titans’ girls soccer team got an up-close look at what veterans can do in Monday’s 2-1 overtime loss to Aspen. Fittingly, it was Skiers’ senior Carly Magill whose pass across the penalty area led to Maggie Melberg’s winning goal.That’s not to say youthful Coal Ridge (2-2-1, Class 3A Western Slope League, 3-3-1 overall) didn’t have some good moments.
“I knew we could play well, but I wasn’t sure we could play with a more physical, bigger team (such as Aspen). But they showed up, and they played awesome,” said Titans coach Shawn McElroy.Given an inch or two, Coal Ridge could have been up 3-0 early in the first half. Jade Murray got a step on the Skiers’ defense three separate times in the opening 14 minutes – all three of the freshman’s shots went wide.McElroy attributes the misses to inexperience.”We’re freshmen. That’s all it is,” he said. “The girls are still a little excitable, and they just don’t know how to quite finish yet. There were three, maybe four chances we should have scored, but they’re young and haven’t been put in that position that often.”Another of Aspen’s nine seniors – Emily Hassall – gave the Titans a clinic on how to finish a play on the game’s first goal.
Snaring a loose ball at the top of the penalty area, Hassell calmly held the ball, forcing Coal Ridge’s young defenders to make the first commitment. That allowed the Aspen forward to move in on Titan goalkeeper Vanessa Hinojos unmarked.Without backup, Hinojos watched Hassell tap the ball inside the near post.Then, with nine minutes left in the half, Murray gained a measure of revenge.Finding herself with space between defenders, Murray lofted a shot just inside the crossbar to knot the game at 1-all.
The tie strengthened Hinojos’ play.After making seven saves in the first half, the Titans keeper stopped five more shots in the second half, including a spectacular snuff of a line drive by Melberg in the 54th minute.”Vanessa has been a rock for us,” McElroy said. “She’s only a sophomore, but she’s our field general, and she produces. She’s kept us in every game.”Offensively, the Titans weren’t as sharp in the final 40 minutes of regulation or overtime. All three of Coal Ridge’s shots on goal were easily stopped by Siegel, who ended with five saves.”I think we were tired,” said McElroy of the Titans’ second-half play. “We have a pretty short bench, and our marking wasn’t near as good as it was in the first half.”
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.