Skiers take down Rams in battle of top 2 3A WSL teams
After starting fast Tuesday afternoon at Carbondale Middle School in a 3A Western Slope League clash against the Aspen Skiers, the Roaring Fork Rams girls soccer team faded down the stretch, as the visiting Skiers capitalized on two loose-ball scrambles in the box to pick up a 2-0 win over the Rams, handing the Rams their first loss in league play on the season.
“It was super frustrating to not have those chances go in early,” Roaring Fork Head Coach Nick Forbes said following the loss. “But that’s the kind of game soccer is, and what makes the game so beautiful. Sometimes you do everything right, and it doesn’t go your way. It can come back to bite you in instances like that, and that’s what happened.”
Coming out of the gate with conviction, the Rams controlled the pace and style of play throughout the first 15 minutes of Tuesday’s matchup, as sophomore Emily Broadhurst nearly made it a 1-0 game just five minutes into the match.
Regaining possession along the left sideline following an Aspen turnover, Roaring Fork junior Lux Andrade threaded a great throughball up the left wing to Broadhurst, who took off on an impressive run down the left sideline. Slipping past an Aspen defender, Broadhurst closed in on the Aspen goal, but her shot went just wide left, past a diving Elle Trane in net, keeping the game locked at 0-0.
Following Broadhurst’s long run, the Rams continued to push the pace, as freshman Letey Crownhart, and junior Angie Morales fired strong strikes on goal, taking the Skiers to task early in the match.
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The tide quickly turned midway through the first half, as Aspen senior Chelsea Moore helped flipped the switch for the Skiers, firing a shot from 25 yards out on goal, forcing Roaring Fork junior Odalis Corcuera to make a save. One minute after Corcuera made the stop on Moore, Aspen freshman Kelley Francis put together a strong run for the Skiers down the right wing, beating two Roaring Fork defenders with slick ball movement before firing a shot off the outside of the goal, as Corcuera squeezed down the near post.
As the Skiers continued to mount pressure on the Rams in the final third of the field, chances continued to mount for Aspen, before junior Emily Brenninger pounced on a misplayed ball by Corcuera along the goal line, giving the Skiers a 1-0 lead at the 20:54 mark of the first half.
Freshman forward Eva McDonough crossed the ball into the box, where it took one bounce and hit Corcuera’s hands. With some spin on the ball, Corcuera was unable to hang onto the ball, allowing Brenninger to slip into the box and tap the ball home for the opening score.
Trailing 1-0, the Rams kicked it back into high gear late in the first half, as Broadhurst slipped in behind the Skiers’ defense, making a great run in on Trane in net. Unfortunately for Broadhurst, Trane timed her challenge perfectly, sliding out to knock the ball away from Broadhurst, allowing the Skiers to sprint into the half with a 1-0 lead.
Coming out of the break, things went backwards for the Rams, as Francis pounced on a turnover in the box by Aspen, firing home a shot to the far left post past a diving Corcuera, giving the Skiers a 2-0 lead just 30 seconds into the second half. Down 2-0 early in the second half, the Rams looked a bit deflated throughout the early portion of the second half, which allowed the Skiers to maintain the pressure, as Francis had two great chances in the box. Fortunately for the Rams, Corcuera stood tall in net, while senior defender Khloe Lee, and freshman Sydney Schramer helped clear away chances, keeping the Rams in the game.
“Soccer is confidence based,” Forbes said. “Our team gains energy from playing well; it’s sustainable. That goal came at the worst time for us. It killed a lot of momentum and confidence that we’d been building. We’re pretty young, so the second that goal goes in, our confidence took a hit.”
Finding their footing midway through the second half, the Rams tried to mount attack after attack, as Broadhurst was the key cog in the attack, finding Crownhart and junior Sandra Grijalva on throughballs to spring runs. Trane answered each and every chance in net, though, keeping the Skiers in front down the stretch.
“I still felt like we had better chances on the day, from the beginning to the end,” Forbes added. “If you don’t put your chances away, it could still affect the game. We were a stronger first half team, but in the second half we started to lose it.”
With the loss, Roaring Fork falls to 6-2-2 (3-1-2 3A WSL) on the season. The Rams will host the rival Basalt Longhorns Saturday at 4 p.m. in another pivotal 3A WSL matchup.
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The teams aren’t vying to one up the other in the rankings or looking to get a leg up in the league standings this fall, but that will hardly make the stakes any less meaningful for Basalt and Glenwood Springs high schools when they meet on the football field Friday night.