Titans fall to Danes, 2-1, in semifinal match
The Coal Ridge Titans boys soccer team allowed two second half goals after taking a 1-0 lead over the Fountain Valley Danes, Thursday, in the semifinal match of the 3A CHSAA state playoffs.
Titans senior forward Sergio Valentin scored the opening goal for Coal Ridge with just under 26 minutes to go in the second half after a scoreless first half thanks to strong defensive play on both sides.
Just three minutes after Valentin’s goal gave the Titans the lead, Fountain Valley was able to draw a penalty in the box, leading to the equalizing penalty kick from the Danes, tying the game at 1-1 with just 23 minutes left in the game.
Fountain Valley would add the go-ahead goal a few minutes later before holding off the Titans attack to advance to the state championship game.
After a terrific run by the Titans fueled largely by defense, the Titans were unable to muster enough offense to advance to the title game.
“I’m just really proud of the boys,” Titans head coach Michael Mikalakis said. “They played as a team and continued to attack until the final whistle. It wasn’t the outcome that we wanted, but I’m glad that we put everything together to make a fantastic run.”
That run was fueled by a terrific defensive effort that allowed the Titans to pull off upset after upset in reaching the Great 8 and the Final Four for the second time in four years.
As a team, the Titans allowed just three goals in four playoff games, led by senior defenders Miguel Navarro and Allen Sanchez, junior defender Jonny Espinoza and sophomore defender Ezequiel Contreras.
Along with Navarro and Sanchez, other senior leaders included goalkeeper Roman Plano and senior forwards Ray Bencomo, Sergio Valentin and Julian Huerta, who helped lead the Titans to loads of success in their four years in Titan blue and white.
“This senior class is very talented, and I have enjoyed coaching them since day one,” Mikalakis said. “The success this group of seniors has experienced is awesome. Two final fours and two great eights — these are accomplishments that don’t happen every day, and I am very proud to have been able to be a part of each of these teams’ successes. I know that we’ll be able to continue to build and see success with our future teams because they know what it takes to make a deep run in the playoffs.”
Coal Ridge finishes the season with a record of 12-6-1, including a 6-1-1 mark in the Western Slope League.
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The 50th Carbondale Mountain Fair last weekend included the 42nd running of the Mt. Sopris Runoff 14-miler and its companion 4-Mile Fair Run foot races after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic.