Eagle Valley aces Golden
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” The Eagle Valley soccer team faced its first real test of the season on Saturday against Golden. The Devils passed with flying colors, making an emphatic statement.
Eagle Valley cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Demons, a postseason fixture, at the Gypsum Sports Complex. The shutout is the fourth straight to start the season, and the Devils have outscored their opposition 23-0.
An aggressive Eagle Valley offense controlled the tempo right from the opening whistle. David Shea nearly scored in the first 10 seconds of the game when Cesar Castillo sent a through ball past the defense. A sliding save from Golden goalkeeper Jordan Arellanes kept it scoreless, but the Demons’ defense couldn’t catch its breath the rest of the game.
Arellanes did his best to give Golden a chance to regain momentum, but the Devils’ offensive pressure was too much. Castillo gave Eagle Valley a 1-0 lead late in the first half when he scored from 15 yards outside the box. The perfectly placed shot went past the outreached hands of Arellanes and into the upper left corner of the net.
“I thought he was going to get that,” Castillo said. “It took a weird curve and got past him.”
The momentum continued to go in the Devils’ favor after the break. It didn’t take long for Eagle Valley to push its advantage to 2-0. Gonzalo Gomez lofted a beautiful pass over the Golden defense and onto the waiting foot of Castillo. The senior made a nifty move on the goalie and tapped the ball into the net.
“It was just a wonderful ball,” Castillo said of Gomez’ pass. “A perfect ball.”
Eagle Valley wasn’t done.
David Shea ” who missed the first three games of the season ” made an impact in his first game. Shea showed off his sprint-car speed on a number of occasions. Late in the second half, he chased down a Marco Escobar pass and beat the goalie to make it 3-0.
“David is a talented player,” Eagle Valley coach Jason Rittmiller said. “He is really fast and he plays well with our offense. Between those three things, he is a huge asset for our team.”
Escobar continued to be the unsung-hero for Eagle Valley on Saturday. The junior found open teammates on numerous occasions that led to scoring chances. Shea was appreciative of Escobar’s feed that directly led to his first goal of the season.
“It was a real good ball,” Shea said. “I don’t know how Marco got it over the defenders. I just had to touch it. It was all Marco.”
Stout defense does it again
If the Devils’ defense can keep up its current play, it will quickly gain attention as one of the Slope’s best.
Golden advanced into Eagle Valley territory a handful of times in the first half, but the Demons never seriously threatened to score. After the break, Golden’s scoring chances were essentially zero.
“Our defense is just so solid,” Rittmiller said. “I never saw one shot where I was like, ‘Good job Trevor (Grayson)’. Our defense doesn’t let good shots happen.”
Led by goalkeeper Trevor Grayson and back Steve White, the Devils are a stingy bunch. The backs also help the offense by constantly pushing the ball up field to keep pressure on the opposing defense.
“I’m really proud of the defense,” Castillo said.
Rival Battle Mountain awaits
If Saturday’s match versus Golden was the first test of the season for Eagle Valley (4-0), Tuesday could serve as a mid-term exam. The Devils host rival Battle Mountain (4-0) in Gypsum.
The Huskies are just as hot as Eagle Valley to start the season, and this meeting just increased in significance with the Devils’ win, afterall Golden knocked Battle Mountain out of the playoffs last year. On Thursday, Battle Mountain pounded Palisade 14-0, a team the Devils beat 10-0 earlier in the year.
Shea said he is excited to play the Huskies, while Castillo said it was just another game. Either way, it’s a big early season matchup for Slope supremacy.
“I expect them to come here very ready to play,” Rittmiller said. “They aren’t going to come here expecting to walk way with a win. There are going to have to earn it to win. We are going to have to bring our best game to match their best game.”
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 748-2935 or at firstname.lastname@example.org