DENVER — Abby Hermann picked quite the time to have one of the best offensive outputs of her career.
The Palmer Ridge senior scored two goals, including a momentum-seizing tally early in the second half to lift her team to field hockey's championship game. The top-seeded Bears beat No. 4 Regis Jesuit 3-1 on Tuesday night at All-City Stadium.
"We knew we wanted to score quickly just to get that pressure off, because it's always a bit hectic when it's still 0-0," Hermann said. "So I think getting a few goals in, especially in the first half, that was really important for us because we were able to go (into halftime) calm and we weren't really frantic."
Liz Phillips opened the scoring for Palmer Ridge with 9:57 remaining in the first half on a great individual run which she finished with her 12th goal this season. Hermann followed that with her first goal just 2:39 later, off an assist from Sydney Chytka.
"She's our defender but she comes up and takes the corners and she puts them away," Palmer Ridge coach Paul Lewis said of Hermann. "She does a good job there."
Regis Jesuit, and their leading scorer Regan Cadieux, quickly responded to cut Palmer Ridge's lead to 2-1 with 5:25 remaining.
But Hermann, who entered the game with eight goals this season, wasn't done. She buried her second goal, from another Chytka assist, just 1:23 into the second half to give Palmer Ridge another two-goal margin. It was a margin the Bears would maintain for the rest of the game.
Tuesday marked Hermann's third multi-goal game of her career, following hat tricks against Arapahoe earlier this season and Fossil Ridge as a sophomore.
This will be Palmer Ridge's second-straight appearance in the championship game, and fourth time in six years.
"Just getting there, I'm so proud of these girls," Lewis said. "We work really hard. We've been here since 2011 in the semifinals, and that's just the girls working hard everyday and doing the right things to get them there."
The Bears, runner-up a season ago, have never won a title.
"This year, it's senior year," Hermann said. "This is the last chance, there's just another level of intensity there."
Palmer Ridge will play No. 3 Kent Denver in Thursday's championship game. The Sun Devils won in double overtime against No. 3 Colorado Academy in the other semifinal.
That title game is also at All-City Stadium with a clinic by USA Field Hockey proceeding the match.