Highlands Ranch downs Littleton on the pitch

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Highlands Ranch posted a 2-0 win over Littleton in the Oct. 12 Continental League soccer game that had an impact on both teams seek to secure playoff berths.

“This game was important to us after the loss to Rock Canyon so we can again claim a top spot in the league standings,” Falcons coach Danny Main said after his team posted the win. “Now we are looking to finish second in the league, which carries a high seed in the playoffs.”

Highlands Ranch now is tied with Ponderosa for second place in the league. The Falcons took on Mountain Vista Oct. 15 at Shea Stadium, and close out the regular season on the road Oct. 17 at Legacy Stadium against Eaglecrest.

The Littleton coach said the loss leaves the Lions a game short of being assured of making the playoffs with two games to play.

“This was a tough game for us to lose,” Lions coach Pedja Vajzovic said after the game. “We played hard and it wasn't our night. Now we face the need to win one of our last two games to secure a decent seed in the playoffs.”

Littleton took the field Oct. 15 against Douglas County and faced Chaparral Oct. 17. Both games will be played at Littleton Public School Stadium.

The teams played the Oct. 12 game at a racehorse pace, pushing the ball up and down the field, seeking an opening to put a shot on the net.

Highlands Ranch broke the scoreless tie in the first half when the Falcons pressed the attack and John Schaffer put the ball in the net past a diving Littleton goalie Edgar Cervantes.

Littleton's attack produced openings and the Lions took the shots, but most of the shots sailed wide of the mark or over the goal.

Just under two minutes into the second half, the Falcons pushed an attack. The initial shot on goal was deflected away from the net by Lions goalie Cervantes. However, Schaffer moved in on the deflection and drilled it into the upper right corner of the goal to make the score 2-0.

A trio of Falcons, Andrew Skiles, Roberto Valazquez and Kyle Diethorn, each got credit for assists.

“Our team played well tonight,” Falcons coach Main said after the game. “All aspects of our play were on target in this game. Our attack was crisp, the midfield played well and, as it has all season, our defense was solid.”

Jeff Ingell is the Falcon's center fullback on the defensive line.

“This is my normal position and I like it back there because I am the last line of defense in front of the goalie,” he said. “Also, as center fullback, I can see the whole field and be a leader as I help direct our play. I have been playing soccer since I was 4 or 5 and this is my favorite position.”

Ingell keeps busy, as he is a kicker for the football season and he plays basketball, but he added that soccer is his favorite sport.

The Lions coach said it wasn't a good night for his team.

“They are a very good team but while we played hard, we weren't organized and really didn't play smart soccer,” Vajzovic said after the game. “We have the talent and I believe we can do what we need to do to get an automatic seed in the playoffs. Like I told the players, I want to see them succeed, but it is up to them to play smart soccer in these next two games so we get the wins we need to assure we can continue our season into the playoffs.”

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