Near misses on offense coupled with wall-like play on defense resulted in Littleton and Castle View battling to a scoreless tie in double overtime in the April 1 Continental League girls soccer game at Littleton Public Schools Stadium.
“It was a frustrating game for us because we didn't do what we usually do,” Castle View Coach Perry Gantz said after the game. “We didn't control the ball and we didn't use our speed. We just kicked the ball around, so we ended with a 0-0 tie.”
Littleton Coach Terry Banfield said the match didn't end like he wished but added that it was an exciting game.
“We got off to a good start this season but have been having a tough time against very tough league competition,” he said. “We hoped to get something out of this game knowing we were facing a very good soccer team. We didn't get a win but we'll take the tie because it came with the valuable experience of playing against a very talented soccer team.”
The tie is the first non-win on the Castle View record as it was 3-0-1 overall and 1-0-1 in league after the game. The scoreless time meant Littleton's record stood at 3-2-1 overall and 0-2-1 in league.
The contest also signaled the beginning of the heart of the league season for both teams.
The Sabercats were scheduled to play Rock Canyon April 3, Regis on April 4 and Legend on April 8. Castle View then travels to Douglas County Stadium April 10 for a game against Highlands Ranch and is on the road at Heritage on April 15.
Littleton is also busy. It was scheduled to play Ponderosa April 3 and Heritage on April 8. The Lions are at Shea Stadium against Rock Canyon on April 10 and return to Littleton Public School Stadium April 15 for a game against Mountain Vista.
The opening minutes of the April 1 game set the tone of the 80 minutes of regulation time and the two 10-minute overtime periods. Littleton pressed the attack. Castle View's defense turned the attack aside, won the battle for possession of the ball so the Sabercats could mount an attack of their own.
The high-speed, back-and-forth action continued throughout the contest. Both teams put a number of shots on goal but not into the net. Some shots sailed high and a couple hit the crossbar. When shots were on target, Castle View's goalkeeper Danielle Williams and Littleton's goalie Shayna Watkins each made leaping deflections and diving saves to preserve the scoreless tie.
As he assessed the remainder of the season, Banfield said the Littleton team is a mix of veterans and players from the junior varsity.
“We graduated eight, had a player move and another is hurt so we had 10 spots to fill on our roster,” he said. “I feel our team strength is our defense and our center midfield. Shayna is strong in goal for us. She is a year-round soccer goalie and the third year as our starting goalie.”
The Lions have spread scoring around so far this season with eight different players credited with putting the ball into the net. Abby Newby has a pair of goals to lead the team in that category while teammate Julie Stauffer has scored one goal but leads the team in assists with four.
Gantz also assessed this year's team. He said the Sabercats are a young team this season. He noted he had five freshmen on the field at one point in the game against Littleton.
“It doesn't look like it on the scoreboard today but typically our strength is our ability to score goals,” the coach said after the game. “We have good passing skills and good speed to push the ball deep into the opponent's end of the field.”
Team statistics show Julie Macklin as the scoring leader with four goals and four assists while teammate Kim Bourelle has scored a pair of goals and dished off a pair of assists.
Gantz noted Williams is playing very well for the Sabercats at goalkeeper.
“Danielle was a field player for us and converted to goalie this season,” he said. “She plays an aggressive style that has worked well for us and strengthens our defense.”