Titans top Aspen in Region 3 soccer clash
Post Independent Staff
PEACH VALLEY – A shutout victory is typically reason to celebrate, but not for Coal Ridge’s boys soccer team. That’s because, after a 3-0 win over shorthanded Aspen on Tuesday, the Titans knew they could have played better.
“The first thing they wanted to talk about in the center was what they’re going to do at practice tomorrow, what they’re going to do to make sure they’re ready for [the next game on] Thursday,” Coal Ridge coach Brian Blair passed along. “That’s encouraging.”
What could the Titans, who built a 2-0 lead by halftime and padded the advantage with a goal late in the second half, have done better?
“Well, just the breakaways in the first half,” Blair said. “I felt like the first-half score should have been 4-0. Then, there was a big section in the second half, for like 20 minutes, where we went into coast mode. That was frustrating, and I think the guys know that.”
“There is a lot of talent and good people on this team,” said Jose Rodriguez, a sophomore on a team with 11 seniors. “With all our seniors, we want to make this year the best.”
Coal Ridge did look crisp and efficient on a windy, overcast Tuesday in Peach Valley.
In the 17th minute, Rodriguez took a pass in the left flat and, parallel to the end line, carved a path toward the net and sent a roller past Aspen goalkeeper Jessis Andrade.
Just before halftime, the Titans padded their lead when Dale Bauer blasted a penalty kick into the top right corner of the net.
Eliel Ruiz rounded out the score at 3-0 with a goal in the 68th minute and Coal Ridge had its second win in as many 2010 games.
As for Aspen, it was without much in the way of firepower.
Down five starters, some due to injuries and others because they haven’t yet turned out for enough practices to play in an official contest, the Skiers were too frequently on the wrong end of the possession battle.
“We were sloppy,” Aspen coach Junior Sutherland said. “Coal Ridge is a good team. They pass the ball, move the ball around well. We’ve got some work to do for the next time we see them at home.”
The Skiers, now 2-1 overall, hope to be at full strength by the time the teams meet again on Sept. 30. Unlike Tuesday’s contest, that game will count in the Class 3A Region 3 standings.
On deck for Aspen is a home date with Hotchkiss at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Coal Ridge is at Basalt in a non-league game Thursday. There will be no room for mistakes against the defending league champion Longhorns, Blair insisted.
“We want to make sure the first time we play them it’s the right way,” the fifth-year coach said. “We don’t want to give ourselves any reason to doubt when it comes time for league play.”
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