Monday, September 21, 2020

West Elk soccer u19 opens season

Couple of wins, couple of losses

by Than Acuff

While the Crested Butte high school boys soccer season was moved to the spring, the high school age kids still have an avenue to play this fall as part of the West Elk Soccer Association (WESA) club. Thirty-four players are signed up and the u19 program split into two teams to compete in the Mountain Region League. Both teams opened their season this past weekend with two games in Montrose on Saturday, September 12 and two games at home on Sunday, September 13, with the WESA Black team finishing the weekend with two wins and one loss, while the WESA White team lost their only game of the weekend.

The Black team headed to Montrose on Saturday to face their younger squad and cruised to two wins by a combined score of 9-2.

While the Montrose team proved skilled and cohesive as a unit, they were outmatched by the speed and pace of WESA through both games. WESA brought a combination of possession and random long ball attacks to open channels to net for Jacob Bernholtz early in the game and Bernholtz netted the first two goals of the game. Montrose responded prior to the end of the first half to cut into the WESA lead but WESA opened the second half scoring the first minute when Jamis Matlock heel-flicked a pass to Blue Gardiner and Gardiner pushed it past the Montrose keeper.

Montrose struck again 10 minutes later to pull back within one but WESA scored two quick goals in the following two minutes as Davis McNeill sent two crosses into the 18-yard box and Gardiner headed one home and dropped the second one to Gabi Marmolejo for him to punch home.

“That was phenomenal,” says senior captain Nathan Miller. “We were able to put some fresh legs in and that really changed everything as we were able to get the upper hand in the midfield and score those two goals quickly.”

Rowan Featherman then capped the 6-2 win with two minutes left with a volley off a corner kick from Marmolejo.

The two teams met again later that day and WESA remained in control for most of the game to take the 3-0 win on goals from Bernholtz, Hayden Faivre and Matlock.

“We’re definitely not 100 percent yet without our pre-season but it was a good way to start with a slow introduction to the season,” says Miller.

Sunday was a bit of a different story as Colorado Mountain United brought a high-powered team to Crested Butte to face the WESA White team in the morning and then the WESA Black team in the afternoon.

Colorado Mountain United had size, speed, skill and everything else and put the wood to the younger WESA White team in the opening game 12-0.

Colorado Mountain United then lined up against the WESA Black team later that day and the two teams battled for 90 minutes with Colorado Mountain United edging out a 3-2 win.

After falling behind 1-0 early in the game, WESA struck back to take a 2-1 lead off goals from Matlock and Marmolejo. But, as the game wore on, Colorado Mountain United continued to push the pace, scoring on a penalty kick and a corner kick, taking a 3-2 lead with 15 minutes left.

Fatigue and injuries from the two games the day before then took hold on WESA and they struggled to find any attack, eventually falling 3-2.

“There was enough time, we just didn’t have it,” says Miller. “We were tired, still not in shape, had some injuries at midfield and lost control in there and our defense was called in to work even harder and we started to collapse. The team was proud of how we played for the most part, but the result was definitely disappointing.”

The WESA Black team will host the Montrose “A” team on Saturday, September 19 at 9 a.m. at the Crested Butte Community School field, while the White team heads to Newcastle to face the Colorado Mountain Untied powerhouse once again.

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