LAKEWOOD — Emotions were flowing for Dakota Ridge’s girls lacrosse team after making history Friday night at Trailblazer Stadium.
The Eagles' 11-10 overtime victory against Palmer Ridge advanced Dakota Ridge into the state quarterfinals for the first time in the program’s history.
“It’s a dream come true,” Dakota Ridge senior goalie Katelynn Smith said. “I love this team will all my heart. I want to go as far as possible.”
Smith was a huge reason the No. 8-seeded Eagles were able to edge No. 9 Palmer Ridge. The Bears (11-5 record) scored back-to-back goals in the final five minutes of regulation time to tie things up 10-10.
Palmer Ridge’s leading goal scorer, senior Sam Rippley, had a golden opportunity to put in the game-winning goal to prevent overtime. Rippley had a shot from point-blank range on Smith with five seconds left in regulation time, but the senior made the save.
“I was a little scared to be honest,” Smith admitted. “You have no idea if they are going to try to shoot up on top of you. It all worked out. I did good, so it’s all good.”
Smith was good in overtime too. Palmer Ridge got off a pair of shots that Smith made clean saves on. The performance in net allowed the Eagles (15-1) get their own chance to end the game in the final seconds of the first 3-minute overtime period.
“Katelynn knew this game was going to come down to draws and goalies,” Dakota Ridge coach Jordan Hogan said. “She knew she was going to have to have one of the best games she as ever played. She had the best game I’ve ever seen her play. She got a game ball.”
Senior Hannah Johnson earned a game ball too with the game-winning goal. Johnson had possession behind the Bears’ net with the final seconds ticking off the clock. She maneuvered near the left post and pulled off perhaps the biggest goal in Dakota Ridge girls lacrosse history.
“Everything was moving and everything was crazy. I didn’t want this to be my last game,” Johnson said. “The crease roll is my signature shot. I knew if I didn’t do it nobody would. I just took a risk.”
Johnson’s shot got past Palmer Ridge goalie Olivia Ward with 2.8 seconds left in the first overtime period.
“It’s the most exhilarating feeling I’ve ever had,” Hogan said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better playoff game. Palmer Ridge came and brought absolutely everything it had and we gave everything we had. It was a fight to the end. Both teams gave it their all.”
Dakota Ridge’s leading scorers — senior Hannah Krats and junior Kailee Lammers — came up big combining for seven goals. Krats scored back-to-back goals a minute apart to give the Eagles a 10-8 lead before the Bears surged back to send the game into overtime.
Next up for Dakota Ridge will be a rematch of last year’s second-round match. The Eagles get a crack against No. 1 Colorado Academy. The Mustangs defeated the Eagles 19-6 during the state tournament last season.
“We are a totally different team this year. CA might be a little surprised of us making it out (advancing to the quarterfinals),” Hogan said. “We are a little more seasoned and older. My team is ready for it. I think it will be a different game this year.”
Colorado Academy shutout Cheyenne Mountain 18-0 in its second-round playoff game Friday. The Mustangs (14-2) haven’t lost to an in-state Colorado school since April 2, 2015. CA lost to Mullen more than two years ago.
“We want redemption,” Smith said of facing the two-time defending state champions. “We are coming back for it. We are excited.”
Dakota Ridge’s lone loss this season came against rival and No. 5 Columbine. The Rebels played right after the Eagles victory Friday at Trailblazer Stadium. Columbine’s game also went overtime, but the Rebels come up on the short end of a 12-11 victory for No. 12 Arapahoe.