Big home game this Thursday in Gunnison
by Than Acuff
With April break creeping up on the Crested Butte Titans girls soccer team, games were stacked up last week. Nevertheless, the team remained focused for the most part, losing just one of their past five games, including winning three in a row over a three-day span.
The team started its three-game streak with a 5-0 win over the Center Vikings on Thursday, April 5. Because Center’s program is still in its development phase, coach Julia Kidd wanted her team to get in, get the win and get out to return intact for the next two games in the next two days. And, for the most part, that’s just what the Titans did.
“We got down there, got in a game and got back,” says Kidd. “I tried to filter in as many players as I could to get players some rest for the next two games.”
The Titans opened the game scoring two goals in the first ten minutes as Karina Davalos scored four minutes into the game and Livie Nute tacked on a second goal in the seventh minute. Ellia Pannier then assisted on a goal by Murphy Sloan midway through the first half and Hazie McNellis found the back of the net shortly thereafter for a 4-0 lead at halftime.
Kidd then used the second half to mix things up for her players and get them continued practice on other aspects of their game. The Titans cruised through the second half with their final goal coming from Pannier off an assist from Davalos for the 5-0 win.
The Titans returned home for their first home game of the season as they hosted Ignacio on Friday, April 6. The Titans beat Ignacio 8-0 earlier in the season so Kidd was looking for her team to remain focused on improving their game and continued game intensity.
“We knew how this one would go so I just tried to make sure energy remained up and everyone was focused,” explains Kidd.
The Titans came out on fire as Sloan netted two goals in the first eight minutes. They continued to attack through the rest of the first half, eventually building an 8-0 lead. Due to league rules, and Kidd’s conscience, the Titans eased off the throttle in the second half, scoring just two more goals as Kidd asked her team to work more on possession rather than finishing.
“I was pretty unimpressed with our game against Center but they played a much better game against Ignacio,” says Kidd.
After back-to-back easy wins, the Titans almost fell prey to fatigue and over-confidence as they hosted the Cortez Panthers on Saturday, April 7. When the two teams met earlier this year, the Titans cruised to a 2-0 win as they dominated a majority of the game but struggled to find the finishing touch. Saturday’s game followed suit as crosses landed in the side netting and shots missed the mark. But they broke the seal on the Cortez goal 22 minutes into the game, as Annabelle Faivre blasted a shot from the top of the 18-yard box for a 1-0 lead.
Cortez gave the Titans a scare, tying the game 17 minutes into the second half, causing a brief panic but the Titans responded three minutes later as Sloan buried a curling shot from the left side and the Titans held on for the 2-1 win.
“I think the previous games finally took their toll and players were mentally and physically tired,” says Kidd. “It was a trying week.”
The Titans are now in first place in the league and will spend the rest of the season playing with a target on their back. They have a tough match-up this week when they host the Ridgway Demons Thursday, April 12 at 4 p.m.
“Every game is winnable and we know it, but can we show up for every game? That is the question,” says Kidd. “The biggest thing now is game speed. The teams we will face play at a faster speed and we have to match that. I’m starting to see it but we have a ways to go.”