Win seals league title
[ by Than Acuff ]
The Crested Butte Titans soccer team pulled out a 1-0 win over the Ridgway Demons on Thursday, October 7 sealing the league title two weeks ahead of the end of the regular season and securing Crested Butte’s spot in the 2A state tournament starting October 29.
The two teams met earlier this season and the Titans cruised to a 5-0 win but, as is the case every year, Ridgway always brings a better game the second time around and especially on their home field.
It was apparent that the Demons had a plan in place to slow down the Titans as heavy and organized pressure at midfield and a solid back line of four defenders prevented Crested Butte from establishing any cohesion in the attacking third.
The same could be said for the Titans’ defensive efforts as they provided quality ball pressure on the Demons’ center midfielders and every attack into the final third were pushed clear by the work of Otto Billingsley, Eric Lain and Finn Ramsey.
Neither team managed to create any true attempts on net during the entire first half and the teams were deadlocked in a scoreless effort by halftime.
“It was slow during that first half, getting our touches down and finding our rhythm, but our defense did what they needed to do,” says captain and goalie Cedar Fessenden. “
When the second half started, it was evident both coaches had their teams step up their game a notch as the battle continued in the midfield with both finding a little more room in the attacking third. Ridgway and Crested Butte traded off a couple scoring chances that were parried away by their respective goalies.
“Definitely a big turn in the second half and we started getting into the groove of things,” says Fessenden. “Our back three did phenomenally, handled things well along with our wingers coming back when needed.”
Eventually the Titans broke the seal on the Ridgway net in the 78th minute when Jacob Bernholtz took a pass from Nathan Sawyer at the top of the 18-yard box. Bernholtz touched the ball past an oncoming defender to fire a low hard shot that bounced up off the ground and over the outstretched hands of the Demon net minder.
The Titans then sealed things up in their half of the field the final two minutes of the game to hold on for the 1-0 win.
“Beating Ridgway away and later in the season has always been a challenge and winning league was huge for us, knowing we’re still on top,” says Fessenden.
Crested Butte has this week off as the school is in the midst of their fall break. They return to action on Tuesday, October 19 when they head to Alamosa for another non-league game and then close out the regular season at home on Saturday, October 23 when they host Telluride at Rainbow field at 3 p.m.
“For the most part some players will keep working on things during the break,” says Fessenden. “Playing Alamosa with one practice we’ll have to come into the game with our heads on right and Telluride will be a challenge.”
The 2A state tournament kicks off on Friday, October 29 with the potential for the Titans to host the opening match.