Defense lifts Palisade past Moffat County

Audrey Rose Kachin kicks a shot past the defense off Moffat County on Saturday during Palisade’s victory at Long Family Memorial Park.

Natalie Combs makes a pass that led to a goal Saturday during Palisade’s victory over Moffat County.

For the seventh time this season, the Palisade High School girls soccer team limited an opponent to one goal or less in a 2-0 win Saturday against Moffat County.

Flannery Davis scored both goals for the Bulldogs, both in the first half.

The first came in the 10th minute, the second off a corner kick in the 38th minute.

A team typically praised for its talent through the midfield, this season Palisade has had to rely more on strong defensive play to secure third place in the Western Slope League. The Bulldogs’ 22 goals are less than half that of league leader Glenwood Springs.

But Palisade does win the possession battle, and coach Raina Sorensen said, that has taken some pressure off the defense.

“We keep the ball forward and work as a team defensively,” Sorensen said. “When a forward loses the ball, they aren’t putting their head down and walking back. Everyone is involved in winning the ball back. It has to be 11 players making up our defense.”

When Palisade has played teams in the bottom half of the league, like Moffat County, that strategy might seem easier. But against tougher opponents, the Bulldogs have had to communicate well in the defense to avoid any breakdowns. Most, if not all, of that communication is funneled through junior center back Sarah Talbott.

“The girls play very smart,” Sorensen said. “They know the caliber of their opponent. They know when to go forward and when not to, and really we have Sarah Talbott serving as the central point of our defense.

“She’s very smart, communicates well and determines whether or not we go forward. I leave it up to her.”

Palisade has a rematch against Glenwood Springs, which gave the Bulldogs their only home league loss last week. After falling 3-1, the Bulldogs are focused on using their athletic midfield to their advantage.

“Our biggest focus is on using the width of the field, getting the ball wide and bringing it back into the middle of the box” Sorensen said.

“We struggle with our outside shooting because we aim at the goalie and that doesn’t turn out well for us, obviously. In games where we’ve dominated, we need to finish, because against higher-caliber opponents, we won’t get as many chances.”


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