Delta's Panthers had an excellent week of soccer. Coal Ridge is ranked third in Class 3A soccer with its 2-1-0 and 8-1-0 record in 2016. Vail Mountain, another 3A WSL opponent is first in WSL play and ranked fourth in Class 3A standings.
After defeating the Titans, 1-0, Oct. 1, Delta's stock should rise with some very tough matches left to play. Basalt, second in 3A WSL and 15th in 3A state ranking, was Delta's opponent on Tuesday of this week. After that the Panthers face Aspen, Caprock Academy and then league leader Vail Mountain followed by Moffat County and then the league tournament in Carbondale.
Excitement was high last Saturday as the Panthers played with high octane energy to play to a 0-0 tie after the first 40 minutes of action. Delta controlled the match from start to finish but didn't manage a score until early in the second half on a Martin Corral goal, with an assist from Sergio Campos.
The Panthers' constant pressure began to wear on Coal Ridge players in the second half and eventually caused a rash of miscues which led to a hard fought 1-0 victory.
Delta had six shots on goal in the first half of play and finished with a total of 11 for the match.
Coach Elaine Wood, like the players, was ecstatic with the win. "They all played well today." Wood was asked who, other than Corral who scored the match's only goal, would be a candidate for most valuable player. There was no hesitation by Wood when she said, "Brandon Harper."
Harper and Isaac Fuller were the first to be mentioned because of their involvement in the match. The hustle and demanding exertion of energy expended by Harper made it easy to select Harper as an easy candidate. "Our middle fielders (Brandon Harper and Isaac Fuller) played well today. All the players played well from top to bottom. We've worked hard on our bench all year and it's a good bench ... one that we can put anyone in at any time and feel confident they can do the job."
A quick conversation with Harper revealed his driving motivation for the game. "I'm not a scorer but I'm a good passer. It comes natural for me to prepare for play. I want to be first on the line for conditioning." Getting to the ball first seems to be a trait Harper has and it's something opposing coaches keep track of.