Feller's four goals help Palisade get past Demons
The girls soccer team that raised eyebrows with its success in the Class 4A Western Slope League last season isn’t exactly ready to reach for the stars. Not yet, anyway.
“We set some goals before the season started,” said junior striker Sami Feller, who scored four goals and assisted on another Tuesday in Palisade High School’s 5-0 victory over Glenwood Springs at Long Family Park. “There were goals like winning our first game and, if we had a chance, winning our first playoff game.”
“Having fun was another one,” said senior Kaylin Casto, who scored the Bulldogs’ other goal.
Needless to say, the goals they’d set didn’t represent what typically comes from a team that finished 12-4, was second in the league standings and made it to the first round of the 4A state playoffs. After their win against the Demons, Palisade (2-0, 1-0 WSL) wasn’t about to set a goal on how far it could advance in the postseason.
“Well, that’s a good question,” Casto said. “Let’s just say we want to go as far as we can.”
The Demons (1-1, 1-1), who last Saturday beat defending league champion Steamboat Springs 2-1, raised the Bulldogs’ eyebrows with their aggressive play in the first 10 minutes. Glenwood dictated possession, put itself in position to score and defended well against Palisade’s aggressive offensive game plan.
Fuller, however, gave the Bulldogs the lead for good when her breakaway goal in the seventh minute staked them to a 1-0 lead. Close to 20 minutes later, Feller took a pass from Emma Mueller and dribbled the ball across two-thirds of the field past a pair of Glenwood defenders before scoring past Demons goalkeeper Erin Bucchin for a 2-0 cushion.
The victory wasn’t as easy as it looked, though.
“I have to give credit to Glenwood, because they’re a lot better team than they were last year,” Feller said. “I think we were expecting to play the team we played last year and we were caught by surprise. But as the game went along, we wound up having great possession. Our midfielders did phenomenal today because it’s a matter of them finding us on our runs. All we have to do is finish.”
Feller helped Casto finish in the 46th minute. Feller made a run at the goal that drew Bucchin and two Glenwood defenders before chipping the ball to Casto, who tapped the ball into the net for a 3-0 lead. Feller broke away again three minutes later for another unassisted goal, and her fourth goal of the game — her seventh in two games — came in the game’s final minutes.
“Our chemistry is so good it makes it easy for me to score goals,” Feller said, sheepishly.
Glenwood was limited to five shots on goal, four in the second half when the Bulldogs held a 4-0 lead. Reannon Baskin had one save as the game’s starter, with backup Sarah Cordova preserving the shutout with four second-half saves.
Second-year Palisade coach Tim Hofer, knowing of Glenwood’s win against Steamboat, told the Bulldogs after the game they made an early season statement. Still, he wasn’t about to start feeling too confident.
“I’m worse than the girls when it comes to setting goals,” Hofer said. “My focus is only on beating Rifle in our first game after spring break. I won’t look any further ahead than that.”