Heading into league play this weekend
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans girls soccer team opened its season of contests on Thursday, March 8 with a couple of pre-season friendlies against the Montrose JV and C teams. Montrose is a 4A program so the non-league games against their developmental teams are good early season test for the 2A Titans.
In addition, after a week and a half of pre-season workouts, the games give the coaches a chance to see players in game situations as they continue to find the right mix for both their varsity and JV teams.
“We’re starting to break up the JV and varsity and so we lined up who we thought our varsity players are and who our JV players are for each game and I had a handful of players I wanted to see in both games,” explains head coach Julia Kidd.
The games also serve as an eye-opener for the players. While they’ve been working hard during the pre-season, a majority of their practices have been in the gym with only a couple outside in Gunnison, and game fitness on a full-sized field is an entirely different level.
“They were hot and bothered,” says Kidd. “It’s really hard to get the fitness you need for a soccer game practicing in a gym.”
The double-header opened with the Titans playing the Montrose JV and after a frantic start for the Titans, things started to click. After a scoreless first half, the Titans scored twice in the second half to win the game 2-0, with the goals coming from Livie Nute and Murphy Sloan.
“The first 15 or 20 minutes they looked a little frazzled but then settled into the game,” says Kidd. “They started remembering what they needed to do but fitness really kind of kicked us. I subbed more in the first half of that game than I do in an entire game.”
Gym workouts did prove limiting in other ways as well as the Titans struggled to spread the game out and struggled with shooting. The pre-season did pan out though in terms of passing as the Titans dominated a majority of the possession.
“We had our typical problem with scoring and we didn’t do a great job of using space but it improved throughout the game,” says Kidd.
The predominately JV team then took on the Montrose C team and also finished with a 2-0 win, with both goals coming from Sierra D’Aquila.
“It was really similar but I have to say, the JV team did a better job of moving the ball around,” says Kidd. “I’m still torn up about how to divide varsity and JV.”
Kidd will make the most of the workouts outside this week to get as much shooting practice as she can as they prepare for their first two league games on Friday and Saturday, March 16-17 against Ignacio and Cortez.
“I’m looking to come out of the weekend with two wins,” says Kidd. “Cortez is always physical but so are we and we want to match that.”