Titan girls roll past Buena Vista and Ignacio for back-to-back wins

“They played great and I think we were having success because we were building it out of the back”

[  by Than Acuff  ]

The Crested Butte Titans girls soccer team outscored their opponents 11-0 over their past two matches starting with a 3-0 win over Buena Vista on Western Colorado University’s Katy O. Rady field on Tuesday, March 29.

There’s an old soccer adage that states goals are scored in the first five minutes and last five minutes of the half, and that old adage played out for the Titans against Buena Vista.

While Buena Vista pressed early in the game including firing off a point blank shot in the eighth minute, goalie Mara Pennie made the stop and the Titans proceeded to gain steam from the save turning the game firmly in their favor.

Crested Butte’s effort in midfield set up several opportunities down the flanks as well as opening passes onto goal but the effort of Buena Vista’s center back held the Titans at bay.

“She was everywhere back there,” says coach Heather Culley.

Maddie Bogard broke free to goal eventually in the 37th minute but her shot sailed just wide. Two minutes later the Titans found the finishing touch when Ellie O’Neal slipped a pass to Leigh Harpel running through and Harpel pushed the ball past the keeper for a 1-0 lead at halftime.

“They played great and I think we were having success because we were building it out of the back,” says Culley. “We reminded them at halftime that Buena Vista seemed to leave the whole center of the field open, so we told Leigh and Teagan Turner to push.”

Just 35 seconds into the second half the Titans struck again as O’Neal slipped through the Buena Vista back four to bury her shot into the low corner for a 2-0 Titans’ lead.

“I think we figured them out and getting those two goals definitely lifted their spirits,” says Culley.

Buena Vista did get close in the 54th minute when one of their strikers sprinted through for an open lane to the Titans’ net. Pennie came out to cut off the angle slowing the opponent down and Sawyer Ezzell caught up with her to strip the ball and push it from harm’s way.

The Titans continued to dominate the middle of the field setting up several other shots. Buena Vista’s goalie made a number of incredible saves but the Titans managed to score one last goal as Morgan Feltus scored with 15 seconds left in regulation.

“They were really happy with the win,” says Culley. “I think a big part of it was we were first to most of the balls all game.”

Four days later the Titans returned to the road to face Ignacio on Saturday, April 2. Ignacio has struggled each year and is typically an easy game for the Titans, so Culley called on her team to play their game, at their pace.

“I just told them I needed them to come out strong, continue working on playing it out of the back and work on one-two’s up the field,” explains Culley.

Crested Butte heeded Culley’s words to build a 4-0 lead at halftime and scored four more goals in the second half for the 8-0 win. Bogard led the team with a hat trick, Harpel scored two and Campbell Ryan, Feltus and Nicola Roberts all scored one goal each.

The Titans have two more league games on the road as they face Del Norte and then Ridgway on Friday, April 8. Two wins would push the Titans into second place in the league standings.

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