Eagle Valley soccer shows fight in loss to Rifle | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley soccer shows fight in loss to Rifle

Devils rebuilding with young squad

Eagle Valley's Seamus Phelan charges forward against Rifle on Thursday in Gypsum. The Bears topped the Devils, 4-1.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

GYPSUM — After a 1-14 season, a team has to have faith that it’s going to get better.

Eagle Valley soccer had that faith, not to mention a lot of hard work during the offseason, rewarded in a 2-0 win on Saturday over the Vail Mountain School. The faith was tested on Tuesday night in a 4-1 loss to league rival Rifle.

Eagle Valley’s Harrinson Hernandez works the ball wide against Rifle. Hernandez got the assist in his team’s goal against the Bears.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

“The way we deal with this is to stay dedicated and get stronger every time,” Devils junior Alexys Ramos said. “We have to take this as a positive and try harder in practices, and not only in practice but in school.”

Kaizen

VMS soccer usually has slogans like “one heart” or “one mind.” Battle Mountain often has a World Cup-related practice shirt.

Eagle Valley has gone with Kaizen, a Japanese word for positive change, apropos for the task at hand. Short of acquiring Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, whose services are already under contract, a 1-14 team isn’t going to go 15-0 the next season.

It has to start with the little things, both physical and mental.

Eagle Valley’s Edwardo Gonzalez gets his head on the ball against Rifle. Eagle Valley is 1-1 to start the season.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

“Where we were last year is no reflection of who we are this year,” Devils coach Maggie Sherman said. “Just understanding that we’re a new group of people and have a new mindset, we’re able to make more opportunities for our young players. We’re creating a culture and our older players are helping us create that culture. That’s been biggest motive this year — creating something that’s more special and meaningful.”

The interesting thing is that there are tangible facts which justify the faith that Eagle Valley soccer can turn it around. The team the Devils were playing Tuesday night, Rifle, has been one of the Slope’s dormant squads for years.

Those same Bears are 2-0 in 2019 after beating both Steamboat Springs and the Devils. Meanwhile, Glenwood Springs, a state semifinalist last season, and expected to challenge Battle Mountain for the league crown, tied lowly Palisade on Saturday.

Good moments

Rifle took the lead on first-half goals by Alonso Ruiz and Mayro Hernandez. The Bears Paul Cerros scored twice in the second half.

Eagle Valley, though, was much more organized during the second 40 minutes. The Devils were working on getting wide and even put together some overlapping runs.

Eagle Valley’s Armando Munoz looks up field on Thursday against Rifle.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

“Our positive today was, ‘Yeah, we were down by four goals,’ but in that last 10 minutes of the game we could have very easily given up,” junior goalie Brandon St. Onge said. “But we kept pushing and fighting hard and we ended up getting at least one goal on the board.”

Eagle Valley had one goal waved off during the second half before Harrinson Hernandez hit Isak Calzadillas on a beautiful diagonal for a score.

The Devils nearly scored another on a Denilson Sandoval free kick and ensuing mad rush at the goalmouth.