“We like to pass the ball to the goalie”
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans girls soccer team opened the regular season of play on the road Friday and Saturday, March 16-17, and came back with back-to-back wins, taking down the Cortez Panthers and Ignacio.
Coach Julia Kidd got some insight into her team in a couple of preseason scrimmages the week prior and found out that while they are able to create opportunities, they still struggle with the finishing touch.
“We like to pass the ball to the goalie,” quipped Kidd.
On Friday that pattern continued. Despite setting the tone for possession and pace all game long, they came up short when it came down to shooting.
“We kept dinking the ball around in the 18 and would just shoot it right at the goalie,” says Kidd. “It was frustrating.”
Tess Fenerty found the finishing touch 12 minutes into the game as she took a nice little 1-2 pass from Phaedra Vierling and drove her shot past the Cortez keeper for a 1-0 lead. But the goal did nothing to bring more from the Titans as they continued to suffer from finishing woes, ending the first half with a slim one-goal lead.
“I just told them at halftime to keep utilizing the space and using each other and that the field was too big to just run up and down with the ball,” says Kidd. “I also told them to put it in the back of the net and that we should be up by way more than one.”
They took her words to heart with a strong opening five minutes in the second half, capped by a goal from Ellia Pannier off an assist from Fenerty to go up 2-0.
“We were pressing, pressing, pressing and finally one popped through,” says Kidd.
But the scoring snafu followed them the rest of the half. Fortunately, possession by the Titans held off any semblance of attack from Cortez and the Titans cruised to the 2-0 win.
“It should have been more like four or five to zero,” says Kidd. “But, I feel like they reached a turning point and started using the outside more and using the space. We’ve struggled to translate our practices inside onto the bigger field and I think they started to do that.”
The Titans headed to Ignacio on Saturday and broke through their finishing issues as they ran away with an 8-0 win.
The Titans jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first half alone as Livie Nute scored two goals and Karina Davalos, Sierra D’Aquila, Maya Schaeffer and Amelia Rutherford each netted one. The Titans eased off the throttle in the second half, adding two more goals as Annabelle Faivre and Murphy Sloan each scored.
“We just tried to maintain our shape and used the game to continue working on possession,” says Kidd. “They did a really nice job of moving the ball around.”
The Titans will get their first real test this week as they return to the road to face the Ridgway Demons.
“I have no idea what we’ll see but I’m expecting a higher level from Ridgway,” says Kidd. “We will see.”