Shootout knocks Devils out of state tourney
The evenly-matched clubs lasted through two 40-minute periods, two 15-minute overtime periods and a shootout – and still it went down to the final Trinidad shot, which banged off the hands of diving Devils keeper Stephanie Morris and into the net. The goal gave the Miners a 3-2 victory and a ticket into the second round game Wednesday.
“There’s no shame in how we played,” Devils head coach Bob Graham said. “They played harder than they have all season, especially in the first minutes. That’s unusual for us. We’re usually the comeback team.”
For the Devils, junior Lindsay Kunkel’s first goal of the season and a nifty goal by sophomore Sam Phillips spotted Eagle Valley a 2-0 halftime lead. This time around, the Devils experienced a rough second half – usually their forte. A wind-aided Miners squad tied the score at the end of intermission.
“We dominated the overtime,” Graham said. “But we just couldn’t get one in.”
After the scoreless overtime, the shootout allowed each team five chances on goal from the penalty kick line. Eagle Valley nailed four of the five. Trinidad (14-2), however, was one better.
“You can’t ask any more out of our goalkeeper and our team,” Graham said. “In a 2-0 game, the next goal is so important. If we could have gone up 3-0, I think we would have won.”
Eagle Valley finished the season at 10-6 and won more soccer games this season than any team in the program’s history. The Devils finished third in the Western Slope League and returned to the state tournament for the second straight year. Last year was the inaugural trip for Eagle Valley girls soccer.
“This group has been fantastic,” Graham said. “They’ve worked and worked and worked and it paid off. This is a tough way to end the season for them.”
Eagle Valley started off like it had plans for a trip to the quarterfinals. Kunkel’s goal came just 90 seconds into regulation. The outside defender took a cross ball, collected it and drove it into the net.
With eight minutes left in the half, Phillips took a ball at her waist, juked the defender by chopping it with her foot and tapped it into the net.
“That was a brilliant goal because it was so spontaneous,” Graham said.
Trinidad advances to play Kent Denver, a 7-0 winner over Salida. Western Slope foes Basalt and Aspen also advanced. The second-seeded Longhorns (14-1) beat Ridgway 8-0 and will host No. 7 D’Evelyn (11-4-1) Wednesday. Aspen handed No. 6 Academy of Charter its first loss of the season, a 1-0 defensive struggle. Aspen (9-5) will travel to take on No. 3 Denver Christian (11-4), also a 1-0 winner.
In the state tournament last season, the Devils were beaten by Faith Christian.