Bulldogs sneak past Devils, 1-0, In Edwards
EDWARDS, Colorado ” There was no breakdown of the finer points of soccer. There was no analysis of the key crossing pass. There was no rumination about playing to space and getting support from teammates on the play.
“It was really nice to score because we didn’t have to go to overtime,” said Palisade’s Brielle Farrell, who scored in the 74th minute to lift the Bulldogs, 1-0, over Eagle Valley soccer in the middle of a snowstorm on Thursday ” the first day of spring ” at Freedom Park in Edwards.
“I’m going to buy Brielle a very big steak,” Palisade coach Luann Ellers joked as she scurried off the snow-covered field.
If CHSAA is reading this article, the coach was joking ” the weather was just getting brutal as the second half progressed. The referees were close to calling the game because the visibility was decreasing and the painted lines of the pitch had disappeared under snow.
In between the snowflakes, both teams got good results out of Thursday’s game. Palisade moved to 2-0-1 in the 4A Slope with the win, going into Saturday’s home showdown with Steamboat Springs at 11 a.m. Meanwhile, Eagle Valley proved much more competitive in its second outing of the season after a 12-0 loss to Battle Mountain nine days ago.
“Huge,” said Ellers, still understandably scurrying off the pitch. “This is mindset for them so that they can go play Steamboat a little more confident. These are games we’re supposed to win, so it’s nice that we won it.”
“The two teams played their heart out in very difficult conditions,” Devils coach Francois Nanin said. “At the end, we lost, but this is not the message. The message is they improved from the first game. They showed they can play 80 minutes, not just 40 minutes.”
Murphy’s Law said overtime was beckoning. After all, snow games always go to OT. The key moment came when a Palisade player accidentally kicked Eagle Valley goalie Mikala Nevin in the head during a collision. Nevin walked off the field under her own power, but she and her teammates were understandably shaken.
Meghan Cochrane, who had played the first half, got back in the net but she had no chance on Farrell’s shot.
Both teams had good chances earlier in the game when light flurries were falling. Palisade’s Brittany Combs managed to clear a ball off her own line in the first half. Teammate Hannah Hardin clanked a shot later in the half off the crossbar.
In the 31st minute, the Bulldogs got a penalty kick, but Palisade’s Mandy Brueggman’s shot went wide left. Eagle Valley started getting more of the chances as the second half progressed. Jenny Kennedy just missed left on a good opportunity and Palisade goalie Amelia Davis simply stoned the Devils’ Nicole Luczkow at point-blank range.
Battle Mountain, 3-0 in the league after a 7-1 win at Delta Tuesday, is the league favorite until someone proves otherwise. Meanwhile, Palisade hosts Steamboat Springs, the Slope’s other playoff regular, Saturday, with the hopes of moving up into the league’s elite. And if Tuesday’s game was any indication, the Devils can certainly play with everybody not named Battle Mountain in the league.
Given that the Devils went shot-for-shot with Palisade, a team which beat Delta, 6-4, and tied Rifle, things are definitely looking up in Gyspum.
“Every week, we’re going to have three games for the whole month of April,” Nanin said. “They are ready for the competition. They didn’t quit. They worked for 80 minutes and that’s very good.”
Eagle Valley is at Delta April 1 after spring break.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.