BROOMFIELD — Libby Geraghty broke through the Broomfield defense and placed a low, powerful shot through the legs of the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Geraghty's goal midway through the first half gave No. 1 Cherry Creek a huge 2-0 win over No. 2 Broomfield.
"I had to finish it," Geraghty said. "You only have so many chances in big games like that."
In this week's CHSAANow.com girls soccer rankings, Cherry Creek took the top spot from Broomfield. They proved Saturday that they deserved that ranking.
"It feels really good to finally prove what we've been working so hard for," Geraghty said. "A lot of people didn't believe in our ranking because of the strength of schedule we had. It feels good to come out and beat a strong opponent."
Coming off of a tie against No. 9 Grandview in double overtime on Thursday, the Bruins needed to get back on track with this game.
"What I was really proud of was that we were in an absolute slug fest with Grandview on Thursday," Cherry Creek coach Jim Schneider said. "I was curious to how they would respond today. I thought we played sharp on defense and the opportunities that we had to score, we capitalized on. I'm really pleased with our effort."
Broomfield got early pressure on Cherry Creek, but they were able to absorb those chances and bide their time until they found their chance.
"The mark of a good team is a team that's willing to play team defense," Schneider said. "At the end of the day, this is a defensive sport, no matter how much you want to try and make it an offensive sport."
And Geraghty didn't miss.
"When you've got Libby Gerhady and Meg Halvorson, get them the ball," Schneider said. "You don't have to be a genius to figure this one out. Get them the ball."
On the ensuing possession, Cherry Creek again got a chance on goal, but this time the shot was saved.
And again, in the final minutes of the first half, the Bruins' kept the pressure on. Kaitlyn Glover shot wide of the far post, then Geraghty narrowly missed a connection on a header from a corner kick.
Throughout the game, the referees let the girls play a physical brand of soccer with minimal stoppage.
"[The referee] let the kids play. I didn't disagree with any of the calls either way," Schneider said. "I think he's one of the best referees in the state."
"We have some strong players on our team that can be physical and win the ball," Geraghty said about the non-calls. "It helped us so we could go strong with the tackles."
Broomfield turned up the pressure in the second half, and saw immediate results. In the first minutes, Gia Lemley had a shot in front of goal, but missed the net.
Ashley Tuccio had the best chance for Broomfield in the first part of the second half. She settled the ball in front of the net, but thumped it off the crossbar. Minutes later, Broomfield saw another ball hit the crossbar — this time on a free kick from about 22 yards out.
"We dodged a few bullets down there, but that's part of soccer," Schneider said.
Broomfield continued to threaten as Jesse Mooney skimmed another free kick off the cross bar, but Cherry Creek would not be denied this win.
Elle Gill put one in the back of the net in the 75th minute to cement the victory.
"Our gameplan was to stay disciplined and defend as a team because we knew they were strong offfensively," Geraghty said. "We knew that if we controlled it and played defense as a team, then we would get offensive chances."
Both Cherry Creek goals were taken at opportune moments, the moment when the Bruins saw an opening for their chance, they jumped on it.
Schneider pulled out piece of paper scribbled on with black ink when asked about his gameplan: "We wanted to make sure that we had a certain mentality coming in and that was being first to the ball. We wanted to get our numbers back on defense, and when we got them into the defensive third, we really wanted to put pressure on their defenders. We wanted to exert more pressure. We didn't exert a ton of pressure against Grandview on Thursday."
And the Bruins executed that to a tee.
"One thing that's so nice as a coach is when kids execute a gameplan. They make you look like a good coach," Schneider joked. "And you know what? Good players make you look like a good coach, and that's always the truth. I would love to take a ton of credit, but I have a good team, I've got a lot of good players — they're hungry."