Vail Valley preps: Eagle Valley edges Glenwood Springs, 1-0
GYPSUM- Still alive and kicking, thank you.
Eagle Valley soccer notched a big win by a count of 1-0 against Glenwood Springs Tuesday night to remain in thick of the chase for one of the 4A Slope’s three playoff spots.
While the win upped the Devils to 3-3 in league one game behind both Steamboat Springs and Moffat County, the Demons fell to 1-5-1 against the Western Slope, and will likely be on the outside, looking in come playoff time.
“This was a different kind of challenge,” Devils coach Jason Rittmiller said. “(Glenwood) play(s) differently than other teams we play. It was fun to see a different look. They’re strong. They’ve got some talent. They played a good game.”
Alexis Fernandez scored the game’s only goal in the 34th minute coming up the middle on a succession of passes from Kevin Escobar and Saul Salazar.
“I received the pass from Kevin,” Fernandez said. “When the defender came toward me, I stopped, and he went past me. I changed to my feet and shot. It feels great. It was the team.”
Eagle Valley’s defense made that marker stand, playing in a four-flat formation. Glenwood possessed well, but could not make that final pass into the box for the scoring chance the Demons so coveted.
“They’re just rock-stars back there and they do their job,” Rittmiller said. “We had a few holes in communication. We’ve been working on that and tonight that was the difference.”
The Demons’ Kevin Hartmann had one breakaway in the second half which Jose Serna stopped. Otherwise, the Devils were stout, keeping the box clear, allowing only shots from outside the 18.
“We were trying not let any through-balls,” Salazar said. “There were having a hard time, so they just shot the ball.”
And Serna had no problems with shots from long range, earning the shutout.
For Glenwood, the final segment of the attack has been elusive for most of the season. This was the Demons’ third league loss of the season by one goal.
“So close. To see the best we’ve seen this team all season, it was frustrating not to finish,” said Demons coach John Mount, who was also not too pleased with the fact that there were only two officials for Thursday night’s game. “They did a good job defending. We outplayed them, we felt, as a team. They’re a good team. It was a good match and we’re going to be eager to see them again.”
The Demons (4-7-1) are next in action Tuesday at home against Moffat, followed in two days by the rematch with Eagle Valley as part of a three-game homestand to end the season.
“All the 1-nil games, the guys are going to be emotionally-invested in the final three games,” Mount said. “We owe it to ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Rittmiller, whose team is 4-5-1, feels his squad is starting to come together.
“We’ve got work to do, but we’re definitely seeing progress,” he said. “I’d love for it to be perfect tomorrow. It’s a process and we’re getting there.”
Eagle Valley hosts Aspen Thursday in nonleague action.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.