High octane offense powers Titans soccer

15 goals over two-game stretch

By Than Acuff 

Crested Butte girls soccer rolled past Del Norte and Ridgway this past week to improve to 4-0 in league play and 8-1-1 overall as they head into the April break.

They kicked things off on Thursday, April 11 when they hosted the Del Norte Tigers and cruised to a 10-0 win. While the outcome was expected, it still provided the Titans a chance to work on certain elements of their game as they continue developing for success later in the season.

The Titans stepped on the pedal from the opening kickoff resulting in a penalty kick and goal for Leigh Harpel five minutes into the game. The Titans then proceeded to rattle off eight more goals in the first half, six from freshmen. Calla Fenlon led the way with a hat trick, Hadley Blaisdell scored a brace (that’s two goals in soccer speak) while Camila Salcedo added in a solo strike to round out the freshmen output. Molly Miller scored as well with Harpel netting her second goal of the game to give the Titans a 9-0 lead at halftime.

In an effort to avoid the 10-0 mercy rule and an early end to the game, Crested Butte used the second half to move the ball through all players but when Thea Barney set up Fenlon with a pass inside the six-yard box 12 minutes into the second half, Fenlon finished for the Titans’ 10th goal forcing the officials to call the mercy rule and end the game.

The Titans then hit the road on Friday, April 12 to face the Ridgway Demons. Due to the impending April break, the Titans’ roster was noticeably smaller and the coaches looked once again to a handful of freshmen players to step up into starting roles.

“We felt good about it,” says head coach Tom Lewis. “We still had a core varsity team out there so we were confident.”

Crested Butte struck early when Nora Thomes finished off a short corner kick play off an assist from Harpel for a 1-0 led in the opening minutes of play but the Demons’ ball pressure, hustle and shots from distance resulted in three goals and a 3-1 Demon lead midway through the first half.

“Our problem was that we couldn’t adapt to the smaller field,” says Lewis. “They just wanted it more than us and before we knew it, we were down 3-1.”

As the half continued, the Titans settled into their game and scored in the 33rd minute when Thomes slipped a pass through to Harpel and Harpel touched it past the last Ridgway defender and tucked it in.

Crested Butte continued to have the upper hand and tied the game 3-3 in the final five minutes as Fenlon collected a cross from Harpel and picked the low corner with her shot.

“After the first 20 minutes they finally got a hold of the game,” says Lewis.

Lewis and the coaches then made a couple of moves at halftime. With Harpel sick and Dakota Redden looking to push forward, the coaches looked to Gabby Silva and Izzy Acuff to come on to the field at midfield and in the back line respectively allowing Redden to move into a wing position.

The Titans remained in the driver’s seat to start the second half dominating the midfield and looking to find players running in behind the Ridgway defense up the middle and on the flanks.

The surge opened Teagan Turner 30 yards out from the Demon net and she collected the ball and drove her shot over the Ridgway keeper for a 4-3 lead. Ten minutes later another push from the Titans’ attack opened a shot for Redden and she scored for a 5-3 Titans’ lead that would hold the remainder of the game.

“They responded really well in the second half,” says Lewis. “It was a really good game to finish on before the break. It was humbling and it gave us a bit if a reality check.”

Following the April break this week, the Titans return to action to face the Telluride Miners on the road on Wednesday, April 24. They will then host 4A team Durango on Thursday, April 25 at Katy O. Rady field on the Western campus at 6 p.m.

“Telluride’s always a weird game because there’s so much emotion involved and Durango will be a tough game,” says Lewis.

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