Host Bayfield this Saturday
by Than Acuff
Following their 1-0 win over Alamosa last weekend, the Titans managed to get five days of workouts in before lining up for their second league game of the season to face Cortez Saturday, September 12 at Rainbow field.
The team worked tirelessly on tightening up defense positioning and continued working on their attack in the offensive third in an effort to create a fuller attack. Things looked good leading up to Saturday.
“The week allowed us to hone in on some more specifics and we were able to get in some agility workouts as well to keep their speed and strength up,” says coach Ben Davis. “We also got some specific time with the varsity, which was very helpful and going into Cortez I think they were as prepared for a game as they had been all season.”
Crested Butte opened the game in control of possession against the young Cortez squad, yet finding seams in the final third continued to trouble the Titans. As a result, they turned their attention to firing shots from outside the 18-yard box and while the first handful of attempts missed their mark, Noah Dumas finally found the right touch, drilling a shot from 25 yards out that slipped just under the crossbar for a 1-0 Titans lead.
The game appeared well under control with the biggest threat coming from the Cortez attack, based on the long punts of their goalkeeper. While Crested Butte’s back four defenders were spot-on in clearing the initial attempts on their net, they fell asleep on one punt and paid dearly as Cortez capitalized on the miscue to tie the game 1-1 heading into halftime.
“I think we came out in the first half stronger than ever before and most of the game was in their half of the field,” says Davis. “The Cortez goal was just miscommunication and missed positioning. Other than that I think they did a great job. Cortez got one shot and they scored on it.”
The Titans picked up where they left off in the first half, with midfielders Patrick Seifert and Dumas controlling the midfield and Thomas Taaca and Woody Martineau on target with their defensive work in the middle.
Still, the Titans’ attack continued to struggle as impatience on offense led to a forced attack down the middle against an organized Cortez defense. The continued attack finally paid off 20 minutes into the second half as Jovany Aguirre slipped in on the far post on a corner kick from Cam Curtiss and poked the ball past the Cortez keeper for a 2-1 lead. The Titans fired off two more looks on net with Jordi Nichols rising up for a head ball and Dumas blasting another shot from outside, but the Cortez keeper turned both shots away.
Cortez put together one last attack for the final 10 minutes as a series of Titan fouls resulted in numerous direct kicks for Cortez, but the Titans clamped down and goalkeeper Josh Pruett made the necessary saves to seal the 2-1 Titans win.
“Overall I think we played our best game of the season. We just need to work on finishing,” says Davis. “We won the game but not comfortably.”
The Titans hit the road on Tuesday to face the Ridgway Demons and then return this Saturday, September 19 to host the Bayfield Wolverines at Rainbow Field at 11 a.m.
“It’s hard to tell where our play will be on game day but we’re ready for it,” says Davis. “It’s another good week where we will have four days of practice. There’s definitely some fine tuning to be done.”