Defense lifts Palisade soccer team to fourth straight victory
The Palisade High School soccer team is finding out its best defense is a good offense.
Tuesday at the Peach Bowl, the Bulldogs controlled the ball and the tempo on their way to a 5-0 win over Eagle Valley.
“I tell them defense is a team thing,” Palisade coach Raina Sorensen said. “If you are an offensive player, you are still a big part of the defense. So if you lose the ball, you need to win it back.”
The team defense approach worked well against the Devils — Eagle Valley managed only two shots on Palisade goalie Amelia Davis. A large reason for the low shot attempts by Eagle Valley was Palisade’s ability to keep in control of the ball.
“I think our key is how our passing has been improving,” MacKenzie Clark said. “We have great communication that we work on in practice.”
Palisade’s first score came on a Devils own goal in the first 10 minutes. Palisade freshman Natalie Combs scored the Bulldogs’ first official goal in the 19th minute to give Palisade a 2-0 lead. Courtney Clark and MacKenzie Clark both added goals before the end of the first half. MacKenzie Clark scored the Bulldogs’ lone second half goal.
“Everyone contributed in one way or another offensively,” Sorensen said. “That was nice to see, and that’s how we are going to win games.”
And winning games is something the Bulldogs (5-1-1, 3-1 Western Slope League) have done a lot lately. Palisade’s on a four-game winning streak and has outscored its opponent 18-0. Palisade has a tough test this weekend playing at Moffat County on Friday, then at Steamboat Springs on Saturday.
“Our goal is to win the league,” MacKenzie Clark said. “We want shutouts from here on out, and this weekend will be big for us.”
Central 4, Montrose 1: At Long Family Park, the Warriors (5-4, 2-3 Southwestern League) recovered from a slow start and 1-0 deficit to take down the Indians. Central got two goals from both Haleigh Higgins and Ashley Paul. Tayler Else finished with seven saves in goal for the Warriors.
Grand Junction (10-2, 3-0 SWL) got another strong outing from pitcher Tyler Stanford to defeat Montrose 4-1. Stanford pitched all seven innings and struck out 11.
“Stanford did the usual thing,” Grand Junction coach Kyle Rush said. “They scattered hits, but nothing that hurt us.”
Stanford gave up nine hits to the Indians (12-1, 2-1 SWL), but held them scoreless in the first two innings. The Tigers put up two run innings in the second and fifth inning, which was enough for the important league win.
“We hit the ball well,” Rush said. “This game was night and day from last Saturday (loss against Ponderosa).”
Fruita Monument and Central played some close matches in the dual, but the visiting Wildcats won 7-0. All three singles matches came down to three sets, including a tight match at No. 3 singles where Fruita’s Taryn Moon defeated Katie Murphy 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.
The doubles were led by No. 3 team McKenzie Kimball and Emily McGovern, who defeated Central’s Brittany Audino and Jenna Purdy 6-4, 6-3.
Grand Junction 6, Montrose 1: The Tigers’ lone loss came at No. 1 singles, where the Indians’ Jessica Vickers defeated Maddie Hayduk 6-0, 6-0.