Edges out win against tough Ridgway team
By Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans soccer team passed the midpoint of the regular season with league games against Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) and Ridgway and now have their toughest week of the season coming up.
The Titans took down CRMS a week earlier 7-0 and looked to work on stepping up their speed of play during their second match against the league opponent.
“We wanted to see the boys take over the game from the first whistle and really dictate the pace of play against a side like CRMS,” says coach Matt Wilson.
The Titans followed the plan and opened the game at full tilt scoring three quick goals. Shawn Moran opened the scoring for Crested Butte when Eli Hulm attacked from the flank to slip a pass to Moran at the top of the 18-yard box and Moran fired his shot to the corner. Ninety seconds later Hulm stole a CRMS pass and drove straight to net to score. Sawyer Barney then set up the Titans’ next two goals providing assists for Kai Greene and a couple of minutes later set up a second goal by Moran and the Titans were out front 4-0.
Archer Bernholtz then got on the end of a corner kick to punch it home and the Titans closed the first half with two more goals as Kai Greene converted a penalty kick and Gardner scored in the final minute for a 7-0 lead at halftime.
“All I know is that I turned away for just a second and when I turned back around, we were up 3 nil after 8 minutes,” says Wilson. “I believe the boys did exceedingly well with their execution.”
Hulm and Gardner each scored again in the opening minutes of the second half and Joe Syson closed it out with a 10th and final goal for Crested Butte as the officials enforced the mercy rule bringing the game to an early end.
The Titans then hosted the Ridgway Demons on Tuesday, September 19 for another league match up and found themselves faced with a tough opponent. The Demons started the game off in control with heavy midfield pressure making things difficult for Crested Butte.
It took the Titans the first 20 minutes of the game to get their feet underneath them as they found success out wide and looking for seams over the top. Their patience and diligence finally paid off as Barney set up Moran for the first goal of the game in the 32nd minute.
The Titans built some breathing room 18 minutes into the second half when Greene slipped free down the middle to pick the low corner and the Titans back line proved impenetrable to help seal the 2-0 Titans win.
While Crested Butte has notched several wins over the past couple of weeks, there’s still some concern as the young team is still thin forcing several players to play the full 80 minutes of every game.
“At the moment, we’re not as deep of a team as we would like in certain spots on the pitch, and the boys could always use more conditioning,” says Wilson.
The Titans have their toughest stretch of games since the beginning of the season coming up as they face Telluride on the road on Friday, September 22 and then host Gunnison on Tuesday, September 26 and defending 2A state champions Vail Mountain on Friday, September 29.
“We are all very aware of the big games coming up next week, and preparation is key,” says Wilson. “So we reemphasize for the boys to use these easier games as intense practice sessions to prepare for the difficult games coming up. This group of young men have all the talent in the world and are determined to do great things this season, so we’ve got to keep the intensity up as high as we can in our sessions. It’s the absolute best way for our boys to simulate the faster level of play we’re about to experience.”