Eagle Valley earns a point against Tigers
GYPSUM — Some days, you win. Some days you lose.
Some days, nobody scores, which was the case on Wednesday at John Ramunno Field in Gypsum as Eagle Valley and Grand Junction soccer played to scoreless draw.
“It’s soccer. It happens,” Devils sophomore keeper Brennecke Gale said. “On Rose’s, I was like, ‘It’s in.’ The goalie had two great saves.”
Rose is Rose Sandell, who had a beautiful looking shot that clanked off the crossbar late in regulation. In overtime, Jessica Adams had a breakaway, only to be snuffed out by Tigers goalie K.K. Lacy.
“Rose hits that again and it goes in. We win the game,” Eagle Valley coach Maggie Sherman said. “Jessie puts it in. The goalie made some great saves. It was a good game overall. There’s a lot to work on. We’re definitely making steps.”
And this is the takeaway on a day when it’s hard to see those steps — the Devils (3-4-1) are making progress, particularly considering 37 goals graduated last spring in the form of Mariel Gutierrez, who is thriving at the University of Northern Colorado.
Growing as a team
“This year, we’ve grown a lot closer,” Gale said. “Last year, we obviously had a big goal-scorer, a big offensive player. This year, everyone has stepped up in their own way because we have to fill that. We still have to find consistency. We play up to the good teams. We compete with Battle Mountain and Steamboat. We still play down to the lower teams.”
And those are some wise words from a sophomore, which is good to see. After all, the Devils have only three upperclass-people on a roster of 15 players.
And Gale should know. She’s started since the beginning of her freshman year, and she’s been doing an excellent job not only stopping soccer balls but also directing the action in back.
“I definitely try to be loud because in the back I can see everything,” Gale said. “If it’s loud, I’m not mad at them. It’s for the good of the team. Everyone does a good job of communicating and responds well to it. I have the best view. I like to direct so we have good shape all over the field.”
That shape improved throughout of the game. In the first half, the Devils were trying a new formation — that’s what nonconference game are for — and struggled a bit. In the second half, they went back to their original set and looked better, getting the ball outside a bit more and creating more chances.
“We were really trying to focus on 50-50 balls,” Sherman said. “That’s huge. That can make or break a game. We didn’t have possession as much as we would have liked to. That was the halftime talk, just getting attitudes and getting excited and getting pumped up.”
Eagle Valley will get back at it on Friday when the Devils host Delta at 4 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.