“They’re really understanding what’s at stake here”
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans girls soccer team was on fire heading into the April break. They won four of five games going in and were on top of the league standings with a record of 8-1.
Then the break hit and coach Julia Kidd was left to wonder what team would return after a week off from soccer.
She got her first glimpse of what she had to work with following the break as the team had one practice before returning to competition hosting the Telluride Miners on Tuesday, April 24. And for all intents and purposes, they picked right back up where they left off as they handed the Miners a 3-2 loss.
“They seemed ready and on fire,” says Kidd.
The Titans opened the game as if they hadn’t taken any break from action. With Tess Fenerty and Maya Chandler setting the tone in the middle and both Livie Nute and Murphy Sloan wreaking havoc on the flanks, the Titans were in complete control of the game. Meanwhile, the few times Telluride did mount an attack, Siena Truex and Annabelle Faivre had the middle sewn up tight leaving no room for the Miner strikers to move.
After a couple of near misses in the opening 10 minutes of the game, the Titans found the back of the net when Karina Davalos broke loose down the middle. The Telluride keeper shut down the initial attempt but Davalos poked the loose ball to Ellia Pannier and Pannier drove her shot through traffic to score.
Nute continued to create down the right flank and while a couple of her crosses bounced through the 18-yard box unattended, Sloan was in place on one particular pass and she drove her shot over the Miner keeper for a 2-0 Titans’ lead.
Things started to calm down 20 minutes into the first half as the Miners started to refocus both on defense and at the midfield. They started winning every ball out of the air and were pressing into the Titans zone. While nary a shot was produced, the constant pressure did result in a penalty kick and they converted to pull back within one.
“I think they got a little tired and I changed things up a little and we lost our flow,” says Kidd.
Fortunately, the Titans regrouped and turned up the heat for the final 10 minutes of the first half pressing more and more into Telluride’s 18. Fenerty broke free twice colliding with the Miner keeper on attempts. A soft goal kick from Telluride after one of those collisions fell at the feet of Davalos and she carried the ball straight to net to score in the final minute of the half for a 3-1 lead at halftime.
“That goal was massive and made us feel a lot more comfortable,” says Kidd.
The second half turned into a midfield war of attrition. The Miners pushed hard up field for the opening 15 minutes but Truex and Faivre were there to turn away every ball up the middle. Following the initial attack from Telluride, the Titans started to find their flow again but as the game wore on, the teams wore down and looked for the home run ball over the top to score rather than build an attack.
“I think both teams were getting tired and it started to get a little physical,” says Kidd.
Telluride managed to score one last goal with five minutes left but Crested Butte turned up the heat one last time to seal the 3-2 win.
“We stayed in it, there were just some lulls,” says Kidd. “I feel like, as a team, they brought it. They’re really understanding what’s at stake here.”
The Titans remain at home this Friday, April 27 when they host the Center Vikings at 4 p.m. They hit the road to face Del Norte on Tuesday, May 1.
“I want them to play well, continue working on possession and play at speed against Center,” says Kidd. “Del Norte will be tough but I’m tired of us losing to them in volleyball and basketball every year so I’d really like to take it to them in soccer.”