“It was a nice turn”
By Than Acuff
ollowing a tough stretch of losses, the Crested Butte Titans girls soccer team bounced back last week to rattle off wins over Buena Vista and Telluride. They host their first home games of the season, weather permitting, on Friday and Saturday, March 31-April 1.
The Titans knocked off Buena Vista in the 2A state quarterfinals last year and were expecting another tough challenge when they headed to Buena Vista on Tuesday, March 21.
The Titans used their possession-based style of play to set the tone early and their work resulted in a 1-0 lead when freshman Molly Miller found the back of the net. Buena Vista responded though and the two teams were tied 1-1 at halftime.
“We were pretty much in control the whole time using possession through the middle, so we didn’t want to change too much,” says coach Heather Culley. “We talked about playing the ball wide more to pull their main defender out of the middle and we spoke to the defense about not getting caught too high as we knew their defense likes to boot the ball up field.”
The Titans then took a 2-1 lead as freshman Nora Thomes scored, and Crested Butte held tight for the 2-1 win.
“The freshmen are super coachable,” says Culley. “They want to score, want playing time and want to win.”
More snow meant more gym time for the Titans as they prepared for their game Friday, March 24 against Telluride, set in Montrose due to excessive snow in Telluride. Telluride caused the Titans trouble last year with a couple of talented underclassmen and a goalie that likes to come off her line.
Crested Butte remained focused on their style of play and managed to dictate the game. They took a 1-0 lead off a set piece direct kick from Teagan Turner.
“I was definitely happy with how we were playing, we were in possession of the ball most of the time,” says Culley.
Then, when halftime hit, so did the snow and the two teams battled through near blizzard-like conditions in the second half. Despite the disintegrating conditions, Crested Butte remained in control and closed out the 1-0 win.
“We kept playing pretty well, I don’t think they got in our defensive third more than a handful of times,” says Culley.
The one downside came on offense. While Crested Butte finished with 20 shots, they still only tallied one goal.
“Every shot on goal was right to the keeper’s hands,” says Culley.
The Titans have three games this week, including their first home games of the season as they host Pagosa Springs on Friday, March 31 at 4 p.m. and then Ignacio on Saturday, April 1 at 1 p.m. Both games will be played behind Gunnison Middle School unless they can get on the Western Colorado University turf field. Culley looks to keep the team moving in the direction from last week.
“It was a nice turn,” says Culley. “Things started to click on Tuesday and the win on Friday motivated them even more.”