Titans pull out win over Rams in extra time
The old saying goes that a tie is like kissing your sister. It’s not very exciting and there’s not much satisfaction involved.
The Coal Ridge Titans wanted no part of this scenario, as sophomore Alyssa Wenzel lofted a kick into the top part of the goal at the 2:00 minute mark of extra time, lifting the Titans to a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Roaring Fork Rams Tuesday afternoon in Carbondale.
“A game like this helps our mental toughness,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Damon Martinez said. “We fought through some adversity against a good team and toughed it out.”
The most valuable player of the afternoon could very well have been Ram goalkeeper Odalis Corcuora, who was peppered often with shots from an aggressive Coal Ridge offense, but time and again she managed to turn the Titans away empty handed and keep the home team in the thick of things.
“She (Corcuora) played awesome tonight. She kept us in the game,” Roaring Fork Head Coach Nick Forbes said.
Coal Ridge senior Kaitlyn Harlow and junior Sam Dunn both had early opportunities to put the Titans up in the first half. Harlow’s curving side shot came the closest to hitting its intended mark, but sailed just high of the goal as the clock showed 28:51 of the opening frame.
Not to be outdone, Roaring Fork junior Camilla Wikum got close to the Titan goal as she maneuvered up the middle of the field, but Coal Ridge keeper Annie Esgar was able to scoop the shot in her arms before it could do any damage. For the Rams, Lux Andrade and Sandra Grijalva also had shots on goal that kept Esgar on her toes. Titan senior Nicole Mooney came close to breaking the tie, but her attempt sailed high of the Roaring Fork goal as the two conference rivals remained deadlocked as the first half ended.
The second half of play saw Coal Ridge ramp up the pressure on the Rams as Harlow smacked a hard left-footer that was snared by Corcuora. At the 32:33 mark, Dunn narrowly missed putting her team up, as her high shot hit the top of the Roaring Fork goal and bounded harmlessly away. A golden opportunity presented itself for Harlow with 10:35 showing on the clock as she beat Corcuora to the ball in front of the Ram net, but once again, with a guardian angel by her side, Corcuora was able to land on the ball, smothering another Titan scoring opportunity.
The Rams had one final chance to score in regulation as Wikum got a breakaway and was able to slip the ball past charging Titan keeper Esgar, but the shot didn’t have enough steam to reach the net before a Coal Ridge defender was able to gather it in. The stage was then set for a 10:00 minute extra time and Wenzel’s winning shot.
Despite the tough loss, Forbes was encouraged by what he saw out of his Rams.
“This is the closest we’ve played them (Coal Ridge) in a long time,” Forbes said. “I was proud of the kids and the effort they gave today. It’s nice to see the growth in the program.”
Martinez was equally happy with his Titans.
“It’s good to get the win. We’ve played a tough schedule to this point, and it doesn’t get any easier on Thursday at Eagle Valley.”
Coal Ridge now moves to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in Western Slope League play. Roaring Fork now stands at 2-2 overall and 1-2 WSL.
The Rams will play host to the valley rival Basalt Longhorns on Thursday.
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.