THS Boys Soccer Secure Top Spot in League Rankings
by Martinique Davis
Oct 04, 2012 | 2563 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KICK IT  - Telluride Miner Santiago Hernandez lined up on the Crested Butte net goal in the first half of play Tuesday afternoon at the THS home field. The Miners won the game 1-0, retaining their undefeated record. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
KICK IT - Telluride Miner Santiago Hernandez lined up on the Crested Butte net goal in the first half of play Tuesday afternoon at the THS home field. The Miners won the game 1-0, retaining their undefeated record. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
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TELLURIDE – The Telluride High School boys’ soccer team fired up the hometown crowd this week, in their fierce match against the Crested Butte Titans,  one of their closest rivals.

At the end of the Tuesday night game, the Miners had sealed the 1-0 triumph, and in the process, the top position on the Division 3 Region 5 rankings. The victory marked their fifth straight win since they tied the Titans in Crested Butte in early September, and added an eighth overall win to their otherwise unblemished record.

“They have really good morale and team charisma,” says THS boys’ soccer head coach Mick Hill of the squad’s successes so far in 2012. “They truly play as a team.”

Tuesday night’s contest was a clear example of the teamsmanship that has helped make Telluride a regional leader this soccer season.  Telluride’s midfielders quickly took control of the ball in the first half, patiently biding their time with precise passing while their leading goal-scorers made pointed attacks on the Titans’ defense. The measured pace of Telluride’s play paid off, with Henry Sosa eventually finding a hole in Crested Butte’s defense and readily taking the opportunity to knock one in before the end of the first half.

The second half found Telluride controlling play in front of the Titans’ net once again, with Telluride midfielders Keith Hill and Simone Lixi instigating a series of keen attacks on Crested Butte’s defense. Sosa and Santiago Hernandez quickly took advantage of the strong foundation set up by their midfielders, and peppered the Titans’ goal with shots in the first few minutes of second half play.

Crested Butte’s defense simply wouldn’t let up, however. Telluride’s momentum reached a boiling point when, midway through the second half, the home team was awarded a free kick after the Titans’ goalie was called on stepping outside of the goalie’s box while holding the ball. Malcolm Major dished off a pretty pass to Hill, who launched it towards the Titans’ well-protected net. Crested Butte’s goalie made a picture-perfect save, keeping the visiting team within striking distance of tying up the game.

The Titans could have turned the tables on Telluride, after they were awarded three corner kicks in a row. Yet Telluride’s defense, spearheaded by Nico Shapiro and Nicki Jones, remained vigilant, making it difficult for the Titans’ strikers to get a clear shot at the net. And when they did, the Miners’ goalie Brendan Kelley was ready to deflect whatever Crested Butte could deliver.

Telluride’s defense has been a force to reckon with this season, allowing only two goals in eight games, while the team’s offense has struck gold with nearly 30 goals scored in games thus far.

According to player Sosa, the strengths of the team’s offense and defense has everything to do with its powerhouse in the midfield, lead by Hill and Lixi.

Telluride will play away this weekend versus Center and Alamosa, and then has a home game against regional rivals Ridgway scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12. Coach Hill is cautiously optimistic that his team will continue its winning streak until the end of the regular season, and is hoping to win home field advantage for the State Tournament’s first round.

“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” Hill said.  

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