AURORA — No. 21 seed Cheyenne Mountain defeated No. 8 Silver Creek to reach the Class 4A girls soccer championship game on Saturday.
The contest started with Cheyenne Mountain outshooting Silver Creek, 3-0 before a lightning delay just 7:27 in halted action.
Two more delays occurred before the end of the half, and when play finally resume, Cheyenne Mountain struck with 7:06 remaining on senior Lisa Long’s score from senior Emma Hanson’s perfect assist.
“It was pretty tough,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Nikkie Athey said postgame about the three 30-minute weather delays. “We were just sitting there, but they picked it up. When it comes down to it, I’m a cheerleader, and they’re players. They finished it. It’s unbelievable. Absolutely incredible. We had our struggles at the beginning, and now we are getting into our stride. These girls are amazing and fought so hard. They deserve it.”
With a shot advantage of 10-1 at the half, Cheyenne Mountain controlled the flow and time of possession by a sizeable margin. As the shortened halftime came to a close, Silver Creek put up quite the fight in the second half.
Outshooting Cheyenne Mountain 6-4 in the second frame, Silver Creek found their offensive rhythm, but solid defense from CM didn’t allow SC to find the back of the net.
The goal from Long held, and Cheyenne Mountain now looks for its first state title since 2015. They were 4A state champions 2013-2015.
“It’s honestly all so crazy,” Long said. “At the beginning of the season, no one would have thought we would have gotten here. We have a new coach, and we have a lot of younger girls, so it’s really exciting and a little surreal. Honestly, everyone loves a good underdog, and we are just trying to deliver and our season didn’t show the type of team we were, but every single girl on this team works so hard every single day. We never give up, and that’s why we are here.”
Playing through injury, Long and the group’s other seven seniors look to accomplish a dream set long ago with a state championship Wednesday at 5 p.m.
“This has been a dream of mine since I was little. I always came to all of the state games watching the Cheyenne girls play and win a bunch,” Long said. “It’s out of this world to be able to play in my own state game and hopefully get another title for our school.”
Evergreen 3, Sand Creek 1
No. 3 Evergreen advanced to the title game after their 3-1 win over No. 7 Sand Creek.
As the physical play of both group’s displayed themselves throughout the afternoon, possession wasn’t easy for either group to sustain.
Splitting time through the first half, Evergreen tallied one more shot (5-4) than Sand Creek, and that one extra attempt proved to be the difference. On a sprint, freshman Elizabeth Rapp dropped in a beautiful shot to the top right corner of the net to give the Cougars a one-goal advantage; a lead they never gave up.
Heading to halftime down one, Sand Creek came out with a different energy to start the second. Controlling time of possession with two more shots than Evergreen the first eight minutes, the Scorpions pushed Evergreen’s defense and senior goaltender Sarah Straut.
However, the Cougars got back to their first-half offensive rhythm as freshmen Catherine and Rami Rapp showcased their speed on the front line, attempting multiple close shots.
Despite the relentless attack, SC sophomore goaltender Alexia Montero kept coming up with clutch save after clutch save, including a diving stop to preserve the one-goal deficit with 30 minutes remaining.
Finally, to put things away, goals from Rapp (with 7:47 left) and sophomore Myla Stewart extended the Cougars’ lead to three with 4:22 left.
Sand Creek got on the board with 26 seconds left on sophomore Sydney Lasater’s goal, but on the day the Cougars attempted 13 shots to Sand Creek’s nine.
Evergreen looks to win their first 4A state title since 1997 on Wednesday against No. 21 Cheyenne Mountain.