The Telluride High School girls soccer team, charging back into a busy schedule after spring break, is charging for the postseason.
The Miners, in action after two weeks away from the soccer pitch, beat Ignacio and Crested Butte this week with four more matches scheduled over the next week.
Telluride’s dramatic 3-2 overtime victory over rival Crested Butte on Wednesday night boosted the Miners’ playoff aspirations and elevated its standing in the San Juan Basin/Southern Peaks League.
The Telluride girls soccer team will host Pagosa Springs today (Friday) and Bayfield Saturday.
Next week, the Miners will travel to Alamosa and Center to close the regular season.
“It was tight (against Crested Butte) … back and forth,” said Telluride head coach Vidal Cubero Sobrados, generally known as “Coach Vidal.” “We are so even. And we are happy to get it in overtime.”
Telluride junior Samantha Morrell scored the game-winner in OT, after taking a pass in the middle of the field in front of the Crested Butte goal.
“She pushed the ball into the (net) … it was a really good goal,” Vidal said, commending the players for their high level of motivation coming out of spring break. “We are working on our motivation and attitude. They were really motivated (against Crested Butte).”
He said the Miners played well early, limiting the Titans’ attack in the first half.
Crested Butte eventually broke the scoreless tie late in the half. But the Miners answered for a 1-1 halftime tie. The Miners took a 2-1 lead early in the second half.
This time, Crested Butte scored the tying goal to force overtime.
“Our defense was really good. And our keeper made a couple of good ones (saves),” Vidal said of junior goalkeeper Claire Shaver. “The team is secure with Clair in the goal.”
He said she encourages her teammates when they are on the attack, as well as communicates effectively with her defensive teammates.
“I’m so happy (with Wednesday’s win),” Vidal said. “But, of course, we need to work on some things.”
He said the Miners shook off the soccer rust they experienced after spring break last year.
“Last year was really horrible after spring break,” he said. “We went downhill.”
This year, he said, the coaches and players talked about returning from break with a laser focus on soccer.
“This is the most important part of the schedule,” Vidal said. “This year, they did a good job. They worked really hard. These girls are obsessed with soccer.”
The Miners exploded into the post-spring break schedule with a mercy-rule shutout victory over Ignacio, 10-0.
Vidal said the Telluride girls used solid defense and attacking offense against the Bobcats, just like they did against Crested Butte.
“Samantha (Morrell) is our main forward,” Vidal said. “Margaux (Lovely) is the link in the middle.”
He said the duo “have a really good connection.”
The defense, Vidal said, is anchored by Megan Reich and Rhys Chambers. Chloe Martelon works along one side of the defense, he said, adding that freshmen also have stepped in to help the defense this season.
Niki Borland also helps in the defensive back line, the Telluride coach said after the Miners topped the Titans to improve to 7-3-0 overall and 6-3-0 in league play.
Crested Butte’s league-leading girls dropped to 7-2-1 overall and 6-1-1 in league play.
The Titans, before the loss at Telluride, were sitting at No. 7 in the statewide RPI (overall power rating) for girls Class 2A soccer, while Telluride was No. 10. The Miners jumped to No. 7 and the Titans fell to No. 8, according to update standings released Thursday.
The winner of the San Juan Basin/Southern Peaks League will automatically qualify for the 12-team Class 2A state playoffs. Six league winners across the state earn automatic 2A berths.
The remaining six playoff teams will be selected based on RPI, which includes a factor of winning percentage and opponents’ winning percentage.
“The girls are so coachable,” Vidal said. “They know what we want (on the field).”
And, he said, they appreciate the large crowd that turned out for the rivalry game against Crested Butte.
“They were all cheering. There was a good amount of people there,” Vidal said “We’re so excited … excited for the next week.”
The Class 2A state playoffs are scheduled to open May 7. The quarterfinals will be played May 10.
State semifinals for Class 2A will be May 15. And the state championship match will be May 21. The higher seed will host throughout the 2A playoffs.
Dawson School of Lafayette is the current No. 1 team in statewide RPI for Class 2A. Denver Christian is No. 2 with Loveland Classical No. 3. Colorado Rocky Mountain School is No. 4 with Fountain Valley of Colorado Springs of Carbondale fifth.
All of the RPI numbers will be recalculated as the teams conclude their regular seasons next week.