A bulge in the old onion bag
The Crested Butte Titans U-18 soccer team got one more chance to face down-valley rival Gunnison on Wednesday, May 16.
The two teams faced each other three times in the past month, with each game ending in either a draw or a slim win by the Titans squad.
This time, the Titans opted, with some pre-game sprint-enhanced encouragement from the coaches, to step up their game for the final meeting of the season.
The Titans’ refreshed attitude was evident from the opening minutes as they converted on a corner kick in the third minute of the game.
Prawit Durgan has been dead-on in his corners, putting the ball in the sweet spot all spring. This time, someone was there to receive it as Cal Fenerty crashed the net for a quick head strike on the ball and a 1-0 Titans lead.
Gunnison put together a handful of strong counters to searching for the equalizer but the Titans defense stuffed each attack to push the ball wide and back up field.
Crested Butte continued to emphasize a possession-style game while Gunnison came at them with pure hustle to match the Titans’ pace.
Anchored by Jose Cantu, the Gunnison defense started to frustrate Crested Butte in the offensive third and the two teams spent a solid 20 minutes trading off midfield turnovers.
The Titans took a 2-0 lead when Jesse Reeves slipped through Gunnison’s back line to take the ball to net and score but Gunnison refused to fold and held within striking distance until halftime.
The Crested Butte coaches made a couple of subtle changes to their line-up to try to generate some more offense. Ben Reaman moved back to midfield to regain control and distribution of the ball.
The move paid off as the Titans worked the ball through the midfield and found Reeves charging up-field on the weak side. Reeves took a pass in stride and put his first shot off the post but followed his own rebound to score for a 3-0 Titans lead.
Reaman then closed his high school career in classic fashion with a head goal to seal Gunnison’s fate with a 4-0 shutout.
“It was a good way to finish the season,” says coach Mike Martin. “It’s sad to see the seniors go. I look forward to more games with Gunnison in the future. The program is getting better.”