Growth evident for Central despite loss to Montrose
The entire season has been an exercise in patience for the Central High School girls soccer team.
After struggling last season, Central has gone from lopsided losses to playing great defensive soccer this spring.
To coach Jacob Pingel, the transition became apparent during Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Montrose. The difficulty is keeping the Warriors, who are winless in league games, playing hard against opponents who are older and have more varsity experience.
With only five seniors, the Warriors are focused on building up a young core of players.
“The defense has really solidified itself and we are not giving up as many shots,” Pingel said. “We’re not beating ourselves nearly as often this year. We’re making slow improvements on offense and Marisa (Brown, a junior goalie) is playing so well that colleges are looking at her.
“It’s tough to always have to tell them to look at the progress we’re making. We all want to win. I have to be the example of patience more than anything. If I can be patient and not lose my cool, they’re going to be patient and know the winning is going to come.”
Central has seen a shift in strategy the past two years.
This spring, the Warriors have stacked more players on the defensive end of the field. A key focus has been communication between the backs, and having midfielders shut down counterattacks.
Although the defense has been strong, the offense is still struggling. During their eight-game losing streak, the Warriors have been shut out six times.
“We’ve had to make a big shift this year and I’ve been committed to teaching our girls defense first,” Pingel said. “It’s hard to see the benefits of that when we’re not generating offense, but you can put 11 girls back there and teams can still score.
“We’ve made subtle switches to try and improve our offense. We’ve strengthened up our defense well enough that we can bring some of our better athletes up higher, where they’re naturally talented. Once they adjust to that, we’ll score more goals.”
For Montrose, the team scoring title is up for grabs. During the past three games, Stephanie Rowan and Madison Gurule have matched each other goal for goal. Rowan’s goal Tuesday came in the 22nd minute, when she buried a ball after an untouched run from midfield.
Gurule sealed the victory with a blast from the top of the box.
The league schedule won’t get any easier for the Warriors. In the last four games of the season, they have to play the top three teams in the league in Durango, Fruita Monument and Grand Junction.
“We’re reaching team goals right now,” Pingel said. “We’re competitive in every game, and that was our biggest goal. Moving forward, we’re going to keep putting pressure on each team in this league.”
Robert Chandler pitched a one-hitter in the Central High School baseball team’s five inning, 10-0 win over Glenwood Springs on Thursday at Canyon View Park.
Chandler struck out six and walked two, helping end the game in one hour and 20 minutes.
Michael Price went 3 for 3 with a double for Central.
Also for the Warriors (10-5), Jeremy Champlin went 2 for 4 with a triple, scored three runs and had two RBI.
Meghan Crawford scored in the 38th minute off an assist by Audrey Rose Kachin, and Palisade (5-4, 4-2 Class 4A Western Slope League) won at Delta, 1-0.
Samantha Henderson saved six shots for Delta (3-6-1, 2-5).
“It was a windy game,” Palisade coach Raina Sorensen said, “so it was one of those things where nothing goes your way.”
Fruita Monument improved its dual meet record to 6-1 with a 6-1 home win over Montrose.
Meredith Soychack (No. 2 singles) and Sierra Segrest (No. 3 singles) and Fruita’s doubles teams all won matches.
Courtney Chism won a match for Montrose at No. 1 singles, a 6-0, 6-3 defeat of Fruita’s Sara Cesark.
In the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Legislative Council, the South Central, Southwestern and Western Slope Leagues put forth a proposal to return Class 4A to a district tournament format. Currently, the nine districts have a predetermined amount of qualifiers for a 48-team state event.
The proposal failed by a count of 35-33.
CHSAA did adopt a change that will put the Class 5A and 4A championship basketball games on a Saturday at a single site, instead of the girls on Friday and boys on Saturday.
Also notably, girls soccer in 2014-16 will add Class 2A for schools with enrollments of less than 240 students.