Defense shines for Central in scoreless tie with Cortez

Although the Central High School girls soccer team has only scored one goal in Southwestern League play this season, on Friday night, the Warriors didn’t need to need score at all.

The Warriors notched their first draw of the SWL season in a 0-0 overtime tie against Montezuma-Cortez at Long Family Memorial Park.

“A lot of people have the mentality that a win is everything,” Central coach Jacob Pingel said. “In most sports you don’t have draws. But we will take this draw because we know we played our heart out.”

Cortez (3-8-2, 1-6-1 SWL) limited Central’s opportunities, giving the Warriors (1-10-2, 0-7-1 SWL) three chances to score in regulation, only one on net. But Central was equally as stingy, allowing five shots on net, none of which challenged goalkeeper Marisa Brown. Brown leads the SWL with 83 saves this season.

Central’s defensive scheme stopped Cortez outside the penalty box. With nine girls playing back, Pingel struggled to have players to fill in behind striker Cierra Pennal. Pennal broke free on the final play of the first half, but pushed the ball just outside the post.

“They’re working hard to play together, and they pack in well on defense,” Pingel said. “Now our midfield needs to pack in more on offense, work to win the ball forward, and possess on our side of the field a little more.

“When you have a player like Cierra Pennal, who can generate those chances for you, sometimes the girls sit back and rely on her too much. We’re just working on building up their confidence so we can bring more girls up in support.”

Central now has to face the top two teams in SWL, playing Durango today and Grand Junction on Tuesday. Central hasn’t beaten Durango since 2009.

“Durango is a tough team and they seem to always have our number,” Pingel said. “At this point in the season it’s all about heart. We have two tough games against two tough teams. The quality of our field will neutralize many of their opportunities. The girls just have to want it and want to work together.”


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