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Force, Pali unable to score

June 11, 2011 | 8:49 pm No comments
By Shaun Schafer

On a cool, crisp night in Northern Colorado, the Colorado Force kept the powerful Pali Blues attack on ice, playing to a scoreless draw Thursday at Loveland Sports Park.

With the 0-0 result, the Force moves to 1-1-1 in the W-League’s Western Conference, while unbeaten Pali stands at 3-0-3. The Force returns to action at 7 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Santa Clarita at the University of Northern Jackson Field complex in Greeley. Pali continues its Front Range road swing on Saturday when it meets Rush in Denver.

In the 82nd minute, Force forward Carly Bolyard nearly provided the go-ahead score when she slipped behind the Pali defense for a one-one-one opportunity against Blues keeper Anna Maria Picarelli Bolyard received a through ball from Samantha Pena, and found herself in front of onrushing Picarelli. Bolyard had enough time to attempt to attempt an off-balance shot with her left foot, but Picarelli made the stop.

Moments later, Pali created a scoring chance in the 90th minute that Colorado repelled to preserve the draw.
The tie with Pali, which won back-to-back W-League titles in 2008 and 2009 and appears to be a contender again this year, is an early-season milestone for Colorado, said Force coach Tracy Chao.

“This was a very good soccer game,” Chao said. “It was a very good test for us, and what’s going to define our season, as far as the level our players can play at. I was very proud of our team and all the individual efforts out there.”

While both sides created a handful of scoring opportunities, including a string of corner kick chances for Pali in the first half, defense ruled. Picarelli, starting in her fourth match for the Blues, posted her third shutout and lowered her goal-against-average to 0.250. Force keeper Hannah Clark kept a season-long clean sheet, with two shutouts in her two starts. Force defender Kristen DeDycker, who anchored Colorado’s backline, was named Woman of the Match.

Reflective of the scoreboard, the teams matched shots on goal with seven apiece. However, Pali took eight corner kicks to just two for Colorado. Picarelli made three saves for Pali and Clark stopped six shots for Colorado.

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