Alamosa continues to confound Crested Butte
Written by Than Acuff
Wednesday, 03 October 2012
Close San Luis trip with a tie and a win, lose in San Juans
After a ten-day break from action, the Titans had three games in three days from Alamosa to Telluride, finishing the stretch 1-1-1.
The Alamosa Mean Moose joined the District 5 soccer league three years ago and the team has given the Crested Butte Titans trouble ever since.
Their defensive style and opportunistic offense pose a unique challenge to the Titans—and this past Saturday was no different.
No matter what Alamosa brought to the game, there was nothing a sluggish Titans team could do to muster a cohesive attack in the opening 15 minutes. Alamosa’s pressure on the ball proved problematic as the Titans’ passes continued to miss their mark, resulting in numerous turnovers.
It took just one major hiccup 18 minutes into the game to further exacerbate the situation as an Alamosa midfielder fought through to win possession and slip the ball ahead for a one-on-one and Alamosa 1-0 lead.
Adding insult to injury, Titans striker Jesse Reeves received a red card two minutes later for running into the Alamosa keeper, forcing the Titans to play a man down for the rest of the game.
“That was a game changer,” says coach Mike Martin. “Not only were we down to 10 men but we lost our star striker and our speed up top.”
Remarkably, the Titans stepped up their play and tied the game two minutes later when Cal Fenerty crashed the net to tap the ball in off a corner kick and tie the game 1-1.
Both teams traded off occasional attempts on net for the remainder of the game but the Titans suffered at the loss of Reeves up top. Fortunately, the defense held their ground, with Dylan Curtiss doing a majority of the clearing work in back, and the two teams played to a 1-1 draw.
“Ties are like kissing your sister,” says Martin. “We always seem to walk away from Alamosa disappointed.”
The Titans boarded the bus to finish the day against the Center Vikings. The Vikings have a tough go every season as they try to bring their program up to speed.
Crested Butte took the opportunity to work on their two-touch play and quick transitions. While Center plays a tricky offside trap defense, the Titans found seams in the back four to set up clear lines to goal.
The Titans scored in the opening minute when a crossing bounced off a Center defender for a dreaded own goal.
Thirty seconds later, Prawit Durgan slipped a pass through the Center defense to Jose Cantu, who beat the Center keeper for a 2-0 Titans advantage.
Durgan added a goal to his assist, blasting a pass from Elisabeth Desmarais into the upper 90 from 30 yards out.
Kaleb Schultz joined in the scoring assault, taking a long pass from Fenerty to score, and after a penalty kick from Center, the Titans closed the first half up 4-1.
Cantu scored two more, Sam Reaman netted a strike and Montana Wiggins closed the 8-1 win with his first goal of the season.
The Titans closed the three-game road trip dropping a 1-0 loss to the Telluride Miners on Tuesday. The Miners are tearing it up in the league with an undefeated record, their only blemish being a tie with Crested Butte early in the season.
The Titans were hoping to play the spoiler against the Miners and keep their own league title hopes alive. After a frantic opening five minutes that saw the Titans link numerous passes through the misfiled, the Miners turned their game up a notch to pin the Titans in front of their own net for the remainder of the half.
Domination on 50-50 balls led the Miners’ effort as they continued to gather the ball out of the air and on the ground and feed it back into their offensive third.
The Titans defense of Josh Melenick, Curtiss, Cal Fenerty and Wiggins held tight but the Miner pressure from the midfield ultimately led to a goal 20 minutes into the game and a 1-0 Miners lead at halftime.
“We fought off the 40 minute onslaught pretty well but one misstep led to a goal and put us down 1-0,” says Martin.
The Titans picked up their play in the second half but their offensive attack continued to crumble as they moved up field and Telluride sealed the goal off for the remainder of the game for the 1-0 win.
“We started winning more balls out of the air, which gave us some opportunities but we never really challenged Telluride’s back four,” says Martin.
The Titans return home at the end of this week to host Pagosa Springs on Friday, October 5 at 4 p.m. and Bayfield on Saturday at 11 a.m. Both games are at Rainbow Field.
“It’s a big weekend,” says Martin. “We need to keep the team focused, fix the things we missed in Telluride and come out guns-a-blazin’.”