Home again this Saturday at 9 a.m.
by Than Acuff
After securing their first league win last week, the Titans fell to the Alamosa Mean Moose in overtime on Monday, April 3.
The Titans hit the road Tuesday, March 28 to take on the Center Vikings and with a somewhat soft opponent expected, coach Julia Kidd used the opportunity to mix in varsity and junior varsity players during the game.
Zoe Eymere struck first to give the Titans a 1-0 lead heading into halftime. Kidd then turned to Shelby Laduke to play in net and moved Rachael Potoker onto the field for the second half and Potoker immediately went to work, threading through most of the Center team to score for a 2-0 lead.
An impending storm forced a lightning delay and Kidd asked her team to use the remainder of the game focused on possession. Once play resumed, the team followed orders, cruising to the 2-0 win.
“It should have been more than 2-0 but they did a great job of moving the ball around so I was happy with the win,” says Kidd.
The Alamosa game Monday was more of a testament to lack of field time than anything else for the Titans as the Titans gained steam throughout the game before falling in overtime. Fact is, it will be just a matter of time, outside, before the Crested Butte Titans girls soccer team truly hits their stride.
The first half opened with Alamosa pressing hard into the Titans’ half. The back line of Zoe Eymere, Siena Truex, Sarah Johnson and Corrina Donovan were strong in turning successive attacks away and Rachael Potoker came up with two big saves in the first 15 minutes to keep the game locked in a 0-0 tie.
The Titans struggled in their transition to offense though. Tess Fenerty worked hard in the midfield to find openings both wide and up field but Alamosa’s organized defense managed to close off passing lanes up the middle and handcuff the Titans’ flanks.
The Titans got a break 20 minutes into the first half as they pushed the ball through to Fenerty at midfield and she played the ball ahead to Ellia Pannier running through. Pannier settled the pass, held off a Mean Moose defender and slipped it past the goalkeeper for a 1-0 Titans lead.
Alamosa responded, scoring two from outside the 18-yard box in the final 15 minutes to take a 2-1 lead into halftime and looking to build further.
“We lost some marks and got a little confused on defense,” says Kidd. “I felt like we were struggling to get a sense for the size of the field. We had midfielders out wide all half that we weren’t using enough.”
With a reminder from Kidd about composure and possession during halftime, the Titans took control of the game for the entire second half, holding the ball in Alamosa’s half most of the 40 minutes.
“All they wanted to do was feed the ball to their best player up top and Zoe did not let her go,” says Kidd.
Twenty minutes into the second half the constant pressure paid off as the Titans earned a direct kick just outside the 18-yard box. Fenerty lined up for the kick and sailed it over the wall and under the crossbar to tie the game 2-2. The Titans kept pressing, looking for the game-winner but Alamosa held on to keep the game tied and send it into overtime.
The Titans continued to dominate possession and press but one pass and one missed mark led to an Alamosa goal, leaving the Titans with a 3-2 overtime loss.
“That was the only time they got the ball into our half and we just gave her a little too much room,” says Kidd. “I feel like we’re getting better as a unit, though.”
Thanks to the diligent work of school district transportation and facilities manager Paul Morgan, the Titan girls soccer team will finally get to practice outside in Gunnison this week as they prepare for the remainder of the season.
“It was important to him and the district to get the girls out there and practicing,” says Kidd.
They head to Ignacio on Friday, April 7 and then host Cortez on Saturday, April 8 in Gunnison at 9 a.m.