Offense erupts for 11 goals
Titans high school soccer closed out the first half of its season on fire, winning two road games this past weekend to improve to 4-1 in league play.
Every fall the Titans head to the southwest corner of the state for an overnight doubleheader against stout league opponents Pagosa Springs and Bayfield.
They opened this year’s road trip on Friday, September 19 against the Pagosa Springs Pirates. Every year the two teams play a full 80 minutes of soccer, and sometimes more, before one of the teams emerges with a one-goal victory.
This year was a bit different.
The Pirates are famed for their incredible hustle, explosive strikers and seemingly superior fitness level, a combination that typically proves troublesome for Crested Butte.
On Friday, Crested Butte neutralized all three aspects of the Pagosa Springs attack to emerge with a 5-0 shutout.
Sophomore Sky Egelhoff and junior Ricky Sandoval shut down the Pirate strikers and senior sweeper Jeremy Clayton cleared everything that slipped through to give the Titans’ midfielders room to move and find targets out wide.
The Titans transition was sluggish at times but effective offering up a couple scoring opportunities early in the game.
Pagosa’s goalkeeper kept the Pirates alive for the first 15 minutes until senior Robbie Holleran connected on a header off a corner kick from senior Jack Linehan to take a 1-0 lead.
Ten minutes later, Linehan used the expanse of the Pagosa midfield to carry the ball past three defenders for the Titans’ second strike of the game, and senior John Wright closed the half with a penalty kick to give Crested Butte a 3-0 lead.
Rather than rest on the laurels of a 3-0 lead, the Titans continued to press in the second half, refusing to fall victim to the heart of the Pirate squad.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Titans scored again when junior Connor McGuire slipped a pass to Wright on the front line and Wright fought off two Pirate defenders to carry the ball to goal and slip it past the charging Pagosa keeper for a 4-0 Titans lead.
Sophomore Henry Linehan and junior Jenner Currier connected for the fifth and final goal of the game when Henry caught the Pagosa defense flat and chipped a pass over the top. Currier ran on to the ball at the top of the 18 and drilled it top shelf with a quick first touch blast, catching the keeper off-guard and capping the 5-0 win.
Crested Butte continued its assault on the southwest corner on Saturday, September 20 handing the Bayfield Wolverines a 6-1 loss in Bayfield.
Crested Butte opened the game a bit bleary-eyed and banged up from their game the night before but connected three minutes into the match when Jack took a pass from McGuire past the Bayfield back line and beat the Bayfield keeper one-on-one.
The Titans maintained ball possession for the next 20 minutes of the game but opportunities on net proved fruitless as the Bayfield goalie held off a flurry of shots with outstanding saves.
Currier broke the dry spell 27 minutes into the game, sliding past the Wolverine defense to push the ball to the far corner past the outstretched hands of the Bayfield goalie for a 2-0 lead.
Following the strike, the Bayfield coach lined up six of his starters at the midline to sub in for his reserves.
While they waited to get in, the Titans netted one more when sophomore Sam Evans took the ball to the end line and crossed it into the penalty area for a volley shot from Currier for a 3-0 Crested Butte lead.
The fresh legs of Bayfield took control of the game in the closing seven minutes of the first half resulting in a goal with one minute left in the half.
Bayfield looked to carry their momentum into the second half in an effort to chip away at the Titans’ lead but the Crested Butte defense adjusted to the new line-up to quash the comeback threat.
Currier completed his hat trick 14 minutes into the second half, finishing a pass from Jack for a 4-1 Titans lead.
The goal quelled the Bayfield rally for good and Holleran closed the game, netting two head balls on corner kicks from Jack, finishing the game with a 6-1 Titans win.
The Titans have two more road games against Center on Saturday, September 27 and Telluride on Tuesday, September 30 before closing league play with a three-game home stand.