Dave Shepard can deal with missed shots, but after the first half of Saturday's game against Steamboat, the Glenwood Springs boys soccer coach put his foot down.
He told his team that missing shots high is unacceptable, and he challenged the Demons to correct those mistakes in the second half.
Glenwood responded, outscoring Steamboat Springs by four goals in the final 40 minutes to win, 5-2, Saturday at Dudley Field.
"The kids didn't play bad soccer," Shepard said. "But my pet peeve in practice and games is missing shots high. I told them, 'Don't kick over the top.' They all responded well."
The Demons increased their offensive pressure in the second half and kept the ball out of the Sailors' offensive half of the field for the rest of the game. Steamboat watched its one-goal lead evaporate within the first eight minutes of the second half.
Glenwood's Taylor Wilde tied things up with his goal off a corner kick from Zack Stepp four minutes into the second half. The Demons' Conner Frey scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal off a header four minutes later. He took the rebound off the crossbar and knocked it past Steamboat keeper Jordan Gray with his head. Stepp was credited with the assist for taking the original shot.
"In the first half, our focus was good," said Gray, who was sporting a black eye he got in Thursday's 1-0 loss at Rifle. "We collapsed, in a sense, in the second."
The Demons added two more goals later in the second. Adrian Castillo delivered a perfect centering pass, which Arturo Ponciaro knocked past Gray just as Gray was about to catch the ball in midair.
Glenwood's final goal came off a pass from Wilde that Pat Shepard shot into the back of the net.
After playing relatively well against Rifle, Steamboat carried some of that momentum into the first half of Saturday's game against Glenwood. The Sailors got on the board first just three minutes in, when sophomore Max Hamil got to the middle of the field with the ball and sent a perfect pass ahead to senior Dillon Dennis. Dennis and Glenwood defender Angel Garcia battled for the ball, but Dennis came away with the ball behind the defense and fired high past Glenwood goalie Thais Kulwiec.
Glenwood tied things at 1-1 when Shepard scored his first goal 21 minutes into the first half on a slow-rolling shot that just went past a diving Gray. Castillo was credited with the assist.
Steamboat added its second goal with 11 minutes left in the first off another perfectly developed offensive attack. A smooth transition from the defense to midfield allowed senior Alec Nelson to hit Hamil with a perfect pass out in front of the goal. Hamil easily scored to give the Sailors a 2-1 halftime lead.
Steamboat mustered just four shots on goal in the game, while Glenwood peppered Gray with a dozen in the second half alone.
"The focus of (Saturday) was to step in with intensity and keep it simple," Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said. "The first half was strong. Their level of play and intensity stepped up in the second, and we were complacent."
Glenwood, which already had clinched second-place in the Western Slope League, improved to 12-2-1 overall and 9-2-1 in the league. Steamboat fell to 2-11-1 overall and 2-8-1 in the league.
The Sailors close out the season with a 4 p.m. Thursday game against league champion Battle Mountain at Dudley Field. It will be the final high school game for seniors Alec Nelson, Jordan Gray, Dillon Dennis, Kalen Caughey, Danny Carlson and Tyler Andrew.
"The seniors want to go out on a high note," Gray said. "We need a team effort to get it done."
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org