LAKEWOOD — D’Evelyn sophomore Kiera Hess received plenty of hugs from teammates after the Jaguars’ 3-2 victory over Ponderosa on Saturday afternoon.
With the No. 4-seeded Jaguars hanging on to a narrow 1-goal lead, Hess made one last save punching a high shot over the cross bar. The shot seemed destined for the back of the net with five seconds to play in regulation time and would have sent the game Class 4A girls soccer second-round playoff game into overtime at Lakewood Memorial Field.
“There was a lot of nerves. The whole team was probably very anxious at that time,” Hess admitted on the final seconds. “You can learn from your mistakes. That is what I try to do.”
The mistake Hess made about three minutes earlier was letting a free kick by Ponderosa junior Jensen Ellis get past her to cut the Jaguars’ lead to 3-2 in the 77th minute. The free kick was just out of reach of Hess as she tried to make a leaping save to her right.
Hess made up for the error coming up with maybe the biggest save of the season for D’Evelyn (13-3-1 record) in the closing seconds.
“How big of a save what that,” D’Evelyn coach Paul Moline said. “Kiera, as the season has gone on, has become a better goalkeeper. She comes up with big saves and is very clean on holding on to balls now. At the beginning of the season I don’t think all of her confidence was there, but she has really gained that confidence.”
Offensively, D’Evelyn sophomore Shiloh Miller got the Jaguars on the scoreboard in the 12th minute off an assist from sophomore Laryssa Hamblen.
“The first goal is also important. I think it sets the tempo of the rest of the game,” Miller said of her header that beat Ponderosa senior goalie Raven Bernier. “That ball from Laryssa Hamblen was perfect. I just had to get on the back of it. It was really exciting.”
D’Evelyn junior Carolyn Anschutz and freshman Gigi Scaturro both contributed for the Jaguars on Saturday. Anschutz and Scaturro are both coming off ACL knee surgeries from nearly a year ago. It was the first game for Anschutz.
“It’s really exiting,” Miller said of having Anschutz and Scaturro back on the field. “They have worked so hard. That whole process is so hard — mental and physical. It’s great to see them finally playing and have them back.”
Scaturro and junior Anna Wright were both on the doorstep to hammer in the Jaguars’ second goal in the 26th minute to put D’Evelyn up 2-0.
Ponderosa answered late in the first half with a rocket shot from freshman Jazzy Ellis that cut the lead in half. D’Evelyn got the goal back in the 66th minute when senior Bella Olson put in a rebound to get the eventual game-winning goal.
Moline didn’t take No. 20 Ponderosa (9-7-1) lightly and the Mustangs did make things interesting in the final minutes after Jensen Ellis scored to make it a 1-goal game.
“(Ponderosa) is a great defensive team,” Moline said. “They bang you and make you earn everything. They are a young team too.”
The win advances D’Evelyn into the 4A state quarterfinals for the first time since 2012. The Jaguars had to wait to see if they will host Wednesday, May 17, at Lakewood Memorial. No. 5 The Classical Academy or No. 12 Air Academy played Saturday night in Colorado Springs.
“The whole team is super excited,” Hess said of the Jaguars getting a chance to host a quarterfinal game at Lakewood Memorial. “Playing on your home grass is definitely an advantage.”