Bears get the jump on Devils in Gypsum
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Rifle girls soccer coach Mark Knighton didn’t want his team taking Eagle Valley lightly Thursday. He impressed on his team that the winless Devils had lost just 1-0 to Palisade, a team the Bears had tied last month.
Rifle seemed to take that to heart, scoring twice in the first 19 minutes to hold off the host Devils, 3-0, at Gypsum Town Field.
“Two goals early, and more importantly, we are starting to play a bit more of a possession game,” Knighton said. “We’re looking to link passes and find feet rather than just trying to get breakaways. Their overall team play is much stronger.”
Chelsea Webb scored twice for the Bears, and in between, Morgan Patrick clipped the net to move Rifle to 2-2-1 in the 4A Slope. Eagle Valley fell to 0-4 on the season, but Thursday’s effort was much better than in its 5-1 loss at Delta Tuesday.
“All the girls from the get-go played extremely hard against a very good team,” Eagle Valley coach Francois Nanin said. “Today we had multiple scoring opportunities that we didn’t have all season. That’s why it was a plus. Defensively, we held them down and I’m very pleased.”
Eagle Valley goalie Bianca Blanco, who had a solid game, couldn’t have been faulted for any of Rifle’s goals. Webb struck in the seventh minute on a penalty kick, smashing the shot into the left panel.
“I like PKs,” Webb said. “I placed it the same place I do every day at practice.”
At the midway point of the first half, Patrick stole an errant defensive clear near the left corner of the box and went to the far post with an exquisite shot for a 2-0 lead.
“That was an absolutely beautiful hit, bending it in that close,” Knighton said. “That’s a beautiful shot. That’s good for her confidence.”
Eagle Valley did test Rifle goalie Abby Schmidt. The Devils had sustained pressure during the second half and nearly had one off a free kick from Tania Silva. Her kick was on target and there were two Devils waiting for a rebound, but Schmidt smothered the shot.
“I thought I had it,” Silva said. “I thought it went in. She got it. There’s nothing you can do about that.”
With Eagle Valley threatening, the Bears needed some insurance, and got it courtesy of a great effort from junior Caitlin Clay. She made a great run down the left side and put two shots on Blanco, who stopped both. The rebound on the second shot came out to Webb, who finished out the scoring.
Rifle heads to Stubler Memorial Field Saturday to take on archrival, Glenwood Springs, while Eagle Valley hosts Steamboat Springs. Both games start at 11 a.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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