Surge lifts Rifle over Eagle Valley
RIFLE – Both teams created a high number of scoring chances, but it was the Rifle girls’ soccer team that made two of them count, defeating Eagle Valley 2-0 on Tuesday.In a game with 34 shots on goal and numerous goalie-vs.-forward, one-on-one opportunities, good defense and goalkeeping by both teams held the contest to a low score.Both goals were scored in the first 13 minutes of the game.Dribbling 35-yards on a breakaway, Caitlin Clay raced her way to a one-on-one with Eagle Valley goalie Mary Cochrane. Clay sent a roller to the far side to put Rifle up 1-0 just under eight minutes into the game.
Clay struck again five minutes later on a bizarre play where three Bears had a chance to score. Danielle Sjogren brought the ball to the center from the left side, then found Chelsea Webb 15 yards out. Webb redirected the ball toward the goal and Cochrane tried to scoop it up. With Jennay Harper right there following Webb’s shot, enough confusion was caused to make Cochrane loose track of the ball. It then rolled to the left side of the penalty box where Clay was waiting to fire it in the net.”It was a good step forward,” Rifle head coach Tom Taucher said of the win. “In our other game against Palisade before springs break, we played similar, but unfortunately didn’t get the result. Today was better. Even going into the wind, a lot of the play was in midfield or their end so we are happy with that.”
Devils D shinesEagle Valley (0-3) pushed up its defense for the rest of the game, reducing Rifle’s scoring chances by forcing nine offside penalties in the finals 67 minutes of the contest.”We are sort of our own worse enemy sometimes where we ran into the offsides position and we weren’t really aware of their back line,” Taucher said. “So if our striker is 10 yards offsides, that’s more on us than on them. But they executed well too and they made it tough on us.” Webb found herself in several scoring opportunities, including two one-on-ones with Cochrane. One clanked off the right post in the first half and the second soared just inches above the cross bar.
A lot of the credit on Webb’s misses and other Bear close-calls goes to the Devil defense and Cochrane’s 14 saves.”I am really happy with our defense,” said Eagle Valley coach Jenn Marut. “They are coming along and Mary was awesome. She keeps us in the game every time.”Rifle goalkeeper Kadie LaRocque worked hard in the shutout, especially in the opening minutes of the second half when Devil (No. 9) charged at her in a one-vs.-one and LaRocque made an impressive sliding save. Another notable stop came with seven minutes to go in the game when she tipped a rocket shot up and over the net, then made a nice grab on the corner kick following. After all 17 of LaRocque’s saves, horns form the Rifle parking lot blared in celebration. Rifle’s defensive back line, led by junior Mindy Gonzales, also played a big part in the shutout.
“I think the stand outs on defensive were Tess (Strouse), Mindy in the middle and Danielle (Sjogren). They all played great in the back,” Taucher said. “We got a little tired late, so our conditioning is not where we want it to be so I think they had a few chances right in front of the 18 late where we just got tired.”Up next, Rifle will host Delta at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Eagle Valley, still trying to find the right lineup and looking for its first win, will play Glenwood today at home at 4 p.m.”We are learning our lineup right now,” said Marut, a first-year coach. “They are moving around to different positions and I am trying to get more comfortable and trying to find where everybody’s going to be the biggest asset to the team.