Demons squeak by Devils
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” As Nicole Luczkow jogged up the field in front of her teammates, she just smiled and said sorry. She knew she’d been robbed.
With nine minutes to play in Wednesday’s game against Glenwood Springs, the Devils were awarded a penalty kick that matched up Luczkow with Glenwood goalie Kelsie Hert. Luczkow sent a rocket up to the top left side of the goal, but Hert dove and got a hand on it to deflect it back off the cross bar. Luczkow tried to jump on the rebound, but Hert beat her to it and cleared the ball to spoil the Devils’ best scoring chance of the game as they went on to lose 1-0 to the Demons.
While apologizing to her teammates, Luczkow defended her blocked shot.
“She’s tall, like 6-2 I think,” she said.
Close. At 6-foot, Hert is a big target with long arms and doesn’t let much get by her.
“That is a save she is going to remember,” Glenwood Springs head coach Bryan Stoltzfus said of Hert’s block. “I will remember it for sure.”
To Eagle Valley head coach Francois Nanin, the blocked shot didn’t matter. His team played the Demons to a 0-0 tie at halftime and only lost by one goal.
“This was our best game of the season,” Nanin said of the Devils. “To play on the road against a playoff team and a great program like Glenwood and be 0-0 at half, and maybe 1-1 was great. They had a ton of opportunities, but we are growing up and it is very optimistic for next year.”
Glenwood outshot Eagle Valley 18-3 in the game, bombarding the Devils’ goal for 80 minutes, but kicked most of its shots right at Eagle Valley keeper Bianca Blanco.
“In practice now we need to work on midfield. We play great defense. There is no question that our girls are not afraid,” Nanin said. “Now we need to control the ball and not panic that is the next level for us because if we don’t do that, we can not attack. We constantly defend, to do that for 80 minutes, which is what we did, is hard.”
Luczkow managed to fire off all three of Eagle Valley’s shots, but had a tough game with the Demons defense marking her all over the field.
“We put our stud freshman Hannah McDermott on their best player,” Stoltzfus said. “We have been doing that the last couple games and she shut the Delta girl down (Stephanie Spor), she shut No. 9 (Luczkow) down today.”
In her first game on the varsity squad, Demon freshman Mariah Martin scored the one and only goal of the Demons.
With injuries to star forwards Chelsea Vallario and Kendall Strautman as well as midfielder Bryttnie Evans, Stoltzfus needed a strong forward to come up and try to fill the void. Martin, the leading goal scorer on Glenwood’s JV, did just that. She also assured her spot on varsity.
“She is here to stay,” Stoltzfus said.
After a 0-0 first half, and 10 more scoreless minutes, Martin charged down the field and fired a shot from the right side of the field that rolled into the left side of the Devils’ goal.
Glenwood’s victory advanced its Class 4A Western Slope League record to 7-2-1 as the Demons are now battling Steamboat Springs for second place behind 10-0 Battle Mountain.
Eagle Valley is 1-11 on in the WSL on the season and will next play at Moffat County on Saturday. Nanin is happy to see his team improving at the end of the season.
“We can finish the season with a trend that we are building the last 10 days,” he said. “We get our first win 10 days ago, we play against Battle Mountain very hard and we play on the road against a great program, so that’s like wow, that’s pretty cool.”
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