Last-minute heroics seals draw

by Than Acuff

After dropping two of three games at a recent tournament in Durango, the West Elk u19 boys soccer team looked to get back on the winning track in Carbondale on Sunday, May 19 against Roaring Fork.

West Elk numbers were depleted due to dance, illness and injuries but with the addition of a u12 West Elk team member and the move of an injured Nathan Miller from the field to the goal, West Elk has a solid squad of 12 players for the game.

The back line of Finn Smith, Henry Bryndal and Darshan Narayana came up big through the first 10 minutes of play as Roaring Fork went on the immediate attack seeking to net the first goal of the game. But as they focused on attack, they left themselves open for the counter and West Elk capitalized as Dagan Schwartz slipped behind the Roaring Fork defense to track down a long pass and drive it past the Roaring Fork goalie for a 1-0 lead.

Roaring Fork responded not long after to tie it up but West Elk retook the lead when Cedar Fessenden tipped a pass past the goalie leaving the Roaring Fork squad somewhat stunned.

Roaring Fork continued to press though and when West Elk struggled to clear the ball from harm’s way, Roaring Fork poked it past Miller and the two teams were locked in a 2-2 tie at the half.

While Bryndal, Chris Myers and Hayden Faivre proved pinpoint in their passing attack up one flank and Rowan Featherman wreaked havoc up the other, Roaring Fork made a mess of the middle, leaving Eric Lain and his brother Will to battle in the trenches with the help of Faivre and Smith.

Roaring Fork capitalized in the 70th minute when a corner kick hit off of a West Elk player’s hand resulting in a penalty kick. Roaring Fork converted on the penalty shot to take a 3-2 lead and was looking to hold on for the win for the final 20 minutes of play.

West Elk seized the opportunity to press higher up the field and while the back line held tough, Schwartz, Fessenden and Thomas Nichols spent the rest of the game looking for seams to the Roaring Fork net.

The equalizer came in the 87th minute as West Elk pressed up one side and played the ball into the 18-yard box. Roaring Fork tried to clear the ball but Nichols crashed the far post to punch the game-tying goal home, leaving the two teams with a 3-3 draw.

West Elk u19 closes out their spring season on Thursday, May 23 when they host Gunnison at the CBCS soccer field at 5 p.m.

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