RIFLE — The back defensive line of the Rifle High School boys’ soccer team could only hold off the Eagle Valley Devils for so long Thursday night.
Eagle Valley broke a scoreless tie open with four goals in an eight-minute span — three of them coming from sophomore Aaron Ledezma — to help the Devils walk away from Bears Stadium with a 4-0 Class 4A Western Slope League victory.
“That’s the one thing we haven’t been able to do yet is put together a full game,” Rifle coach Rich Carter said. “We played well for 70 minutes tonight.”
Indeed, Rifle (1-3-0 overall, 1-1-0 league play) turned away every scoring opportunity the Devils had in the first 60 minutes of the match, withstanding a barrage of 11 shots on goal. But as soon as Alan Caraveo found the net in the 61st minute, it began a snowball effect of offense that all went in the favor of Eagle Valley (2-2-0 overall and league).
“We missed so many chances in the first half that we became frustrated,” Eagle Valley coach Bratzo Horruitiner said. “We ended up putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to score because of all the chances we missed. That was a tough first half.”
The Bears, who earned their first win of the second Tuesday in a 3-1 triumph over Moffat County, tried to create its offense in transition. The Devils did the same thing to no avail, but Eagle Valley’s constant pressure made the difference in the second half.
“They’re really fast, and their defenders really outran us,” said Rifle senior Junior Cavillo, whose team kept playing hard even after it quickly went into a four-goal deficit. “We are playing better compared to last year.”
Caraveo put the Devils up for good with his goal in the 61st minute, taking a long outlet pass and beating a pair of Rifle defenders before finding the lower-right corner of the net. Three minutes later, Ledezma won a one-on-one ball, juked a Rifle defender and shot the ball in from the top of the goal box for a 2-0 Devils lead.
It didn’t stop there. Ledezma got the ball again just a minute later, and his right-footer from the left side found the far back of the net. And just three minutes after that, Ledezma shot the ball into the upper part of the goal from 25 yards to cap the scoring.
“We were able to spread the defense a little during that spurt,” Horruitiner said. “That opened up some more opportunities for us that we could be successful on.”
Eagle Valley hosts Summit County on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Hot Stuff Stadium.