Titans’ soccer takes second place at Western Slope tournament

Back to back to back games crush players, even Nolan

Granted, it was a lot of soccer in one day, especially for a team with only one player on the bench. Nevertheless, the Crested Butte Titans U-18 team toughed it out, playing three 80-minute games in a row to take second place in the Western Slope City League tournament Saturday, May 12.
The team started the day with 14 players and an opening game against Hotchkiss, the same squad they destroyed a week earlier.
But just prior to the opening kick-off, the Titans were down to 13 when they lost striker Kaleb Schultz. In addition, Hotchkiss was well rested this time around and determined to avenge the loss from before.
While the Titans controlled possession and the pace of the game, the Hotchkiss defense stymied the Titans attack for the opening 40 minutes frustrating and confusing Crested Butte.
Hotchkiss put together a brief surge in the opening minutes of the second half rattling off a couple shots before Crested Butte woke up and mounted an aggressive counter attack.
Dylan Curtiss teamed up with Prawit Durgan in the midfield to build some momentum on offense and push the ball back into the offensive third. Curtiss found a seam wide to receive a pass, took a look up and caught the Hotchkiss net minder out of position floating a shot just inside the near post for a 1-0 Crested Butte lead.
The Titans defense of Nolan Blunck, Cal Fenerty, Cristo Church, Montana and Dakota Wiggins did the rest to hold the slim lead as the Titans advanced to the next round.
Unfortunately, the win came at a price as the Titans lost another player to injury leaving them just one player on the bench.
Fifteen minutes, a couple slugs of water and a banana or two later, the Titans lined up again to face Gunnison. It was the same game, different opponent as the Titans dominated possession once again. The only difference this time was the Titans were getting shots, plenty of shots, but they couldn’t find the net.
Gunnison hung in the game and put together a handful of offensive rushes to put the scare in the Titans but Jesse Reeves finally cracked the seal. Reeves broke free and beat the Gunnison goalie one-on-one for the lone goal of the game and push the Titans into the tournament finals to face Glenwood Springs.
Thanks to the generosity of the opposing coach, the Titans had 25 minutes before they had to line up for the third time that day but no amount of time would have made a difference.
The Titans were done as player after player repeatedly seized up on the field with massive leg cramps and only one substitute on the bench, who was also cramped up.
Glenwood dominated play and peppered the Titans net with shots. Crested Butte goalie Ian Dethloff had an outstanding game turning away most shots with a flurry of brilliant saves but by the end of the first half, the Titans were down 2-0.
Crested Butte had two golden opportunities in the second half to make a difference but the shots missed their marks and Glenwood netted three more for the 5-0 win.
“They played some good ball,” said coach Mike Martin. “Ball movement and off the ball movement was good.”
The Titans closed the season with one last game against Gunnison on Wednesday, May 16.

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