TELLURIDE – A group hug and a cacophony of spirited shrieks followed the final whistle on the Telluride pitch last Friday, as the Miners celebrated a hard-fought 1-0 win over Ridgway, and in the process, won the league championship title.
“My girls really wanted to do well today,” said Lady Miners head coach Aja Forestier, who earlier called the match a “crucial” one. With it, Telluride landed 14th on the State seeding list and won the higher seed for the State Tournament’s first round – meaning Telluride will enjoy home-field advantage in the first State playoff game, to be played this Wednesday at 4 p.m. against no. 20-ranked Aspen.
With only two practices between the Friday win and meeting Aspen on Wednesday, the Miners’ only mission is to remain focused and healthy for the State playoff game, Forestier said. Senior Mackenzie Bronson, who was the sole goal-scorer last Friday, expressed confidence in her team’s ability to maintain their winning momentum into this week’s playoff game.
“This is the first time that I have felt confident” we could make it past the preliminary round. “We can do it.”
If Telluride is able to bring a similar level of intensity into their 2010 State debut as they did last Friday against Ridgway, Aspen may have a difficult time stopping the Miner train. The Ridgway Demons were no easy match for Telluride last week, despite the Demons being short-sided. Ridgway forwards Lauren Gleason and Audrey Jossi maintained staunch pressure on Telluride’s defenders, but the home team managed to deflect many a Ridgway scoring attempt thanks to precise passing and aggressive defense. The Demons did nearly manage to get on the board two separate times, however, with torpedo shots seemingly directed straight for the back of the Miner net. Neither of those well-positioned bombs proved too much for Telluride goalminder Allison Horn to handle, however, as Horn skillfully rejected both to uphold her team’s lead.
“Allison won the game for us,” Forestier said, noting Ridgway’s two “great shots” that could have easily turned the tables on Telluride.
As it was, Telluride managed to get through the match holding onto the one-goal lead they established early in the first half, off a penalty kick in which Telluride senior Bronson showed great composure. After nailing the ball into the back of the net for the first time, the referee called it back (the goalie hadn’t been on the line.) Bronson lined up for a second time and once again put it past Ridgway’s keeper, only to be shut down by the ref once again – this time, because she hadn’t waited for the whistle. The third time proved to be the charm for Bronson, however, and with the goal Telluride gained a one-point advantage.
The Miners threatened to widen the lead throughout the second half, ratcheting up the pressure in front of the Ridgway net with skillful passing combinations between Ali Tassone, Sarah Wontrobski, and Ryan Hanley. Bronson nearly managed to sneak another past the Ridgway keeper, but to no avail. Ridgway defenders Christine Anderson and Rissa Robinson stoically protected their net, and despite their barbed attacks Telluride was never able to widen the gap.
Ultimately, the one early goal was all Telluride needed to take the win last Friday. Spirits following the match were nearly as high on the parents’ bench as they were amongst Telluride’s players, who have this season given their fans plenty to cheer about.
The league’s second-place finisher Bayfield (ranked no. 21 in 3A) will play no. 12-ranked Basalt this week, while no. 30-ranked Ridgway travels to play no. 3-ranked St. Mary’s.