Titans plan their postseason action
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado ” After sealing its Class 3A regional playoff berth on Tuesday, the Coal Ridge girls soccer team learned its first-round opponent is Denver Christian on Wednesday.
The two teams, which will take the field on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Coal Ridge High School, are almost opposite in every way. For the Western Slope League’s second-place Titans (6-2-2 WSL, 8-4-2) this is their first trip to the postseason in the team’s three year history. The Metro’s No. 5 Crusaders (4-4 Metro, 11-4 overall) have earned three state titles since 1992 and have qualified for the state semifinals every year this century.
When it comes to players, Coal Ridge possesses a balanced attack with leading goal scorers in Chelsie Ryan and Audrey Asplund combining for 13 goals. Throughout the year, the Titans have proved that anyone can step up and score, as 10 different players have found the back of the net.
Defensively, the Titans have two talented goalies to choose from in the quick and agile senior Vanessa Hinojos and the 5-foot-10-inch sophomore with long arms, Tori Verdieck. The duo, combined with a defensive core led by Sam Wilson, have helped the Titans to six shutouts this season and a 1.75 goals allowed per game average.
The Titans’ only losses this year came to 5A teams Grand Junction and Grand Junction Central and to Basalt ” the 11-time WSL Champion ” which defeated the Titans twice. Basalt receives a first-round bye, as do all league champions.
Coal Ridge notched two victories against 4A opponents in Rifle and Palisade. Its two ties came against Aspen and Vail Mountain.
The Crusaders have gotten the majority of their offense from the feet of Lindsay Landhuis and Alexis Peterson. Landhuis has scored 17 goals, while Peterson has added 11 goals and 14 assists.
Denver Christian started the season with seven straight wins that included victories over four 4A squads and even 5A Eaglecrest. Its losses have come at the hands of Faith Christian and Kent Denver, who frequently end up in the semifinals with Denver Christian, as well as Peak to Peak and Holy Family.
The Coal Ridge’s baseball team’s first playoff experience just got a lot tougher. After finishing their season 6-12 for a fifth-place finish in the Class 3A Western Slope League, the Titans were handed the No. 32 seed in the 3A district bracket.
The seeding has them paired up against No. 1 Faith Christian (17-2) in the District 1 tournament at Faith Christian High School in Denver on Saturday.
It has been a monumental season for first-year head coach Luke LaBaw’s squad, who saw its first victory in the three-year history of the program and now is making its first postseason appearance. The Titans have seen success on the mound as when Darren Matthews threw a no-hitter against Rangely for the team’s first win and at the plate where Josh Alsop and Braxton Jackson have hit the first home runs of their prep careers.
Faith Christian, which won 12 games ended by the mercy rule this season, won the Metro League this year. They have two pitchers, Jobi Wall and Pierce Johnson, with 5-0 records and ERAs lower than 1.22. Both are also two of the Eagles’ biggest offensive threats with batting averages above .500 and have combined for 56 RBIs and four homers.
The winner of the Titans-Eagles showdown will play the winner of Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. game between The Academy (14-5) vs. Platte Valley (11-8) at 3 p.m. for a ticket to regionals.
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Fans, players and coaches on both sides of Stubler Memorial Field seemed to know it would come down just the way it did, regardless of who had the ball at the end.