When it rains, it pours: Top-ranked Titans top Demons
PEACH VALLEY — Like the rain that poured down on The Pasture soccer field at Coal Ridge High School throughout the day on Tuesday, the school’s boys soccer team made sure its offense didn’t let up against the Glenwood Springs Demons.
Eight different players found the net for the Titans, who didn’t let the rain, the Demons or the sloppy, muddy field conditions slow them down as they quenched the Demons, 8-0, in a nonleague game.
“All we had to do was just focus on playing our game,” said senior midfielder Chaz Apostolik, who scored in the 66th minute to stake the Class 3A Titans to a five-goal lead on the Class 4A Demons. “We’ve just always been taught not to complain about the conditions and play the nest we could no matter what.”
That apparently made one heck of a difference for Coal Ridge (3-0-0), which this week was voted in as the top team in the CHSAAnow.com Class 3A soccer poll. It takes over that spot from now third-ranked Salida (2-1-0), which lost 2-0 to Pagosa Springs this past Saturday. Coal Ridge will host Salida at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Glenwood (2-4-0 overall), which was coming off a 4A WSL victory over traditionally solid Battle Mountain this past Thursday, wasn’t able to get many scoring opportunities on the Titans at all. That surprised first-year Demons coach Wayne Smith, who was impressed with the team speed the Titans displayed.
“The conditions definitely effected us, but it obviously didn’t effect Coal Ridge,” the coach said, laughing. “We were trying to control things in the midfield better. That’s what we planned on at least, because we wanted to deny them the ball.
“We did that for the first five minutes,” he continued. “And then the game kind of opened up.”
Just like the skies did.
Puddles of standing water were on the field by the halfway point of the first half, which took a toll on a Glenwood team that likes to play up-tempo and fast. That’s when the Titans’ ball-control approach won out, though it’s not what got them on the scoreboard first.
That came thanks to Alex Gutierrez, who looped an intirect kick from 40 yards away into the net and past Glenwood goalkeeper Ryan Nott for a 1-0 Coal Ridge lead in the 10th minute. Luis Galaviz added the Titans’ second goal in the 16th minute for a 2-0 cushion, but it was a little while before the proverbial flood gates opened.
That happened in the second half, when senior midfielder Enrique Bucio — one of the nation’s leaders in assists according to http://www.maxpreps.com — zipped up the right side of the field and beat Nott with his shot to the far post for a 3-0 Coal Ridge lead.
Following that was Marcus Amaya, whose corner kick sailed over the outstretched hands of Nott and into the net ahead of Juan Gonzalez in the 59th minute. Gonzalez, however, got his chance following goals from Apostolik and Ray Bencomo when another corner kick from Amaya missed Bucio’s header attempt but went straight to Gonzalez, who knocked it into the net for a 7-0 Coal Ridge lead.
Miguel Navarro capped the scoring with his goal in stoppage time. Nott, however, kept the game closer than it could have been, stopping five separate breakaway chances while making two other diving stops in goal.
“I would have expected us to play them closer,” Smith said. “I would have expected a score like 3-2. But not 8-0.”
Meanwhile, even though Coal Ridge’s players emphatically made a point in their first game since the state-wide rankings game out, the Titans feel they still have a lot to prove this season.
“For sure, that’s going to be in the back of their minds a little bit,” Coal Ridge coach Mike Mikalakis said. “But nothing is going to come easy because of the teams we have to go against for the rest of the season. Yes, we have some very talented kids. But we’re going to be playing against other kids who are very talented. There’s still a long season ahead of us.”
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Thanksgiving seems to be ever-present here in the Roaring Fork Valley. I’m not talking turkey and gravy, I’m speaking to the gifts we receive constantly, throughout the seasons.