LAKEWOOD — Standley Lake’s girls soccer team answered an early-morning wakeup call Saturday.
The No. 8-seeded Gators faced off against No. 24 Lewis-Palmer at Lakewood Memorial Field before any of the other Class 4A 2nd round state tournament games were even thinking about warming up.
“The girls requested a 10 a.m. game and they definitely showed up for it,” Standley Lake coach Derek Cortvriendt said after the Gators took a 2-1 victory to advance to the state quarterfinals Wednesday, May 16.
The eventual game-winning goal for Standley Lake (12-4-1 record) came off the foot of freshman Dani Bird in the 58th minute. Junior Haley Klasner served in a corner kick that Bird redirected into the back of the net to give the Gators a 2-1 lead over Lewis-Palmer.
“Dani had got a lot of corner kick goals this season,” Klasner said. “I knew someone would come through.”
The goal by Bird was a big lift for Standley Lake after Lewis-Palmer tied the game up at 1-1 just before halftime. The Rangers were able to even things up when senior Tori Fugate fired a shot on a breakaway in the 38th minute. The shot trickled past Smith to tie things up at 1-1 going into halftime.
“A lot of us were worried,” Klasner said of the mood in the locker room at halftime. “Our coach reminded us that we started the game tied. We had the potential to score. We just had to work.”
The work paid off with Bird’s goal midway through the 2nd half.
“We have not been good winning the ball in the air or in the 18 (goal box) all year long,” Cortvriendt admitted. “It was a great time where a freshman (Bird) steps up and puts it in.”
Standley Lake’s other goal came early. Klasner scored in the 4th minute on a shot that slipped by Lewis-Palmer goalie Kaity Hovasse.
Lewis-Palmer had a flurry of scoring chances in the 14th minute, but Gators’ goalie Emma Smith was able to make a couple of saves on pointblank chances to keep the Rangers off the scoreboard.
“We felt like our freshmen really stepped up today and led the attack,” Cortvriendt said. “It was one of our best soccer IQ games of the year.”
Standley Lake plays the winner of Battle Mountain and Windsor on Wednesday, May 16 in the quarterfinals. The Wizards (15-0-1) are the top seed in the tournament and who the Gators will get in the next round baring an upset.
“If you want to go to the end you have to go through the best,” Cortvriendt said of possibility facing the No. 1 seed Windsor, who was scheduled to play its 2nd round game at 4 p.m. Saturday against Battle Mountain. “We aren’t scared of No. 1.”