Defense lifts ‘Dogs to win

Palisade’s Cruz Vela, 15, celebrates with Natalie Combs, 2, and Flannery Davis, left, on Tuesday after scoring the first goal in the Bulldogs’ 3-0 win over Battle Mountain.

The Palisade High School soccer team knew it would have a changing of the guard this season between the goalposts.

The Bulldogs had a hole to fill at goalkeeper after four-year starter Amelia Davis graduated, but Tuesday night at Walker Field, new starting goalie senior Lindsay Rasmussen showed her ability with a 3-0 shutout of Battle Mountain.

“She’s done a wonderful job stepping up,” Palisade coach Raina Sorensen said. “I’m 100 percent confident she’ll give us everything she has every game.”

Rasmussen finished with 10 saves against the Huskies.

“It feels great to get a win, especially against a good team like (Battle Mountain),” Rasmussen said. “The girls just came out with intensity and played hard from the get-go.”

Rasmussen actually attends Plateau Valley High School, but since that high school doesn’t have a soccer team, Rasmussen travels from Collbran to Palisade for practices and games.

“The girls are really accepting,” Rasmussen said. “Amelia left some big shoes, and I’m proud to fill them.”

Sorensen said Rasmussen is solid in goal, but gets plenty of help from the Bulldogs’ defensive unit led by sophomore Sarah Talbott. The Bulldogs defenders were tough Tuesday night, not letting the Huskies have a clear shot on Rasmussen the entire game.

“Talbott, as a sophomore, is more confident and demanding of those around her,” Sorensen said. “She’s the one who dictates what the defense does, and she gets the job done.”

The Bulldogs (1-1, 1-0 Western Slope League) put a lot of importance into Tuesday’s night game. Palisade lost its season opener 2-1 to Coal Ridge on March 10, and wanted to get back on track in its first WSL game.

“Coal Ridge was a rough start,” Sorensen said. “So this was a much better way to start the season.”

The Bulldogs broke a scoreless game in the 22nd minute when Cruz Vela scored off a rebound of a Courtney Clark shot for the 1-0 lead. Palisade went ahead 2-0 by halftime when Clark put in a goal at the 36th minute.

“We were connecting passes and finishing when it counted,” Sorensen said. “The first two goals were excellent and they came from hard work and hustle.”

It was a defensive second half until Flannery Davis scored a game-sealing goal with four minutes remaining. Davis lined up a free kick and perfectly placed the ball over Battle Mountain goalie Mindy Vickers’ head.

“We worked on that a couple of weeks ago, and (Davis) kept lofting them,” Sorensen said. “We talked about making it a shot and following through and that’s what she did.”

Palisade doesn’t play against until March 31 when it hosts Delta.


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