COLORADO SPRINGS — Lewis-Palmer needed something, anything, to get going on Thursday night. They needed a new way to win a game.
They got it with a little Devine intervention. From Kate Devine, that is.
The senior midfielder took a pass form Bri Alger and beat freshmen Cheyenne mountain keeper Bella Zanotelli. The defending Class 4A champions had the lead and would grind to a 1-0 win over the Indians.
It was a tough battle for a Cheyenne Mountain team that has been decimated by injuries this season, but the champs are the champs for a reason. They know how to close out tight games, even if they haven't been in that position all year.
“The way the girls played tonight, it was really unconventional for us,” Rangers coach Ryan Parsons said. "We're used to knocking that ball around. They found out they can play a different way and that's what I'll take the most out of this.
The Pikes Peak Athletic Conference rivals are no strangers to each other. But throughout the game, it was tough for either side to generate offensive chances. The best look for the Rangers (11-1 overall, 5-0 PPAC) came right in front of the Cheyenne Mountain net.
The ball bounced off players like an old-school pinball game, but the Indians (5-6, 2-2) cleared it.
It was just over a minute that Alger had the ball about 30 yards outside of the goal and smoothly kicked it up to Devine. She drew Zanotelli toward the middle of the net before connecting on a shot to the left side.
“I was planning to slot it in the right corner,” Devine said. "I knew I had a defender on me as well, so I had to time it perfectly and it just kind of worked out."
The defensive chess match continued in the second half with each team trying to limit any mistakes. The Rangers nearly slipped up. Keeper Kait Hovasse came out of the net to play the ball, but it ended on the foot of Scooter Ross. The junior tried to chip the shot over Hovasse’s head, but it sailed just over the cross bar.
“Not going to lie, I thought I heard my name to just go clear it out,” Hovasse said. "I noticed right when me (and a defender) both went for it, (Ross) went for it as well. It was just some miscommunication."
But in the end it worked it for the Rangers. They now have a one-game lead over Air Academy in the PPAC standings. Lewis-Palmer beat the Kadets 3-0 earlier this year.
The Indians are without forward Lauren Jones and midfielder Carly Fetters who will miss the remainder of the season due to knee injuries.
But a loss like the one suffered on Thursday doesn't spell doom. A 1-0 loss to the No. 3 team in the 4A CHSAANow.com rankings could be beneficial in the coming weeks.
"That's a good way to go into another big game on Saturday with TCA," Indians coach Tomas Martinez said. "We can hang with these guys, we just need to get our head right."