Devils, Rifle play to 2-2 draw
Vail, CO Colorado
RIFLE – Pearl Nanin didn’t want to lose another game, so she did something about it.
With maybe a minute left in Saturday’s girls soccer game at Rifle, the Eagle Valley junior sped up the right side and cleared the reach of Bears goalkeeper Jinna Harper with a long, arcing shot.
“I really just wanted not to lose another game,” Nanin said. “I just wanted to make it in the net or cross it so someone else could make in it.”
Make it in the net is exactly what she did.
“That was a great outside shot from Pearl,” Eagle Valley coach Francois Nanin said. “Twenty-five meters at full speed, in the crossbar.”
The residue of regulation and two overtime periods later, the Devils left Rifle with a 2-all tie.
It was Nanin’s second goal of the game. In the 22nd minute, she sent a long roller past a diving Harper.
Nanin’s equalizer followed a pair of converted free kicks by the Bears’ Mikel Condie, who rallied her team to a late 2-1 lead.
Condie’s first strike, smacked from more than 20 yards out, hooked in from the left side in the 75th minute. Her second goal, a 77th-minute tally, sailed in from the right side and was actually snatched up by Eagle Valley goalkeeper Blanca Gonzalez, who appeared to come down with the ball behind the goal line.
“They were both from outside the 18,” Condie said with a laugh. “They were pretty far out there. That was really unexpected. I usually play stopper, a defensive postion. For whatever reason, (coach) put me up at forward. I really like that position.”
The draw was an outcome neither side seemed to find objectionable, as wins have been hard to come by for the both the 0-7-1 Bears and 1-6-1 Devils.
“I knew it was going to be a good game because we’re both the same level,” Pearl Nanin said. “We knew if we didn’t fight hard enough, we were going to lose. We always stop playing the last two minutes. This time, we kept our momentum, so it was good.”
Rifle’s two goals were only its second and third of the entire season. Bears coach Jennifer DeHamer hopes finding net for the first time since March 6’s season opener at Grand Junction Central nudges her team in a positive direction.
“That’s what I asked from them. I told them, ‘Guys, let’s score,'” she said. “It feels so good when you score. After we scored that first goal, we did have more momentum. The ball was on that end of the field more. We just couldn’t finish. It should carry into next week.”
Rifle will travel to Palisade on Tuesday and to Battle Mountain on Thursday.
Eagle Valley hosts Steamboat on Tuesday and Glenwood on Thursday.