Glenwood falls in OT to Evergreen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Evergreen’s Anya Kaufmann shadowed teammate Haley Stading’s long-range shot deep into the 18-yard box. Just like her coach always stresses, she followed the shot.
Glenwood Springs goalkeeper Shannon O’Gara-Standiford swatted Stading’s bullet to the ground and Kaufmann pounced. With a clear look at net, the sophomore booted home the golden goal that lifted her Cougars to a 4-3 overtime win over Glenwood in the opening round of the Class 4A girls soccer playoffs on Tuesday.
“Well, we’ve been talking about following every shot,” Kaufmann said. “I just followed it and put it in. It worked.”
The perseverance Kaufmann flashed in ending the game just over a minute into overtime epitomized the Cougars’ night. Down 2-0 less than 15 minutes in, Evergreen scored three unanswered goals to go up on the host Demons.
Even after Glenwood leveled the score late in the second half, the Cougars kept pressing.
“Playoff games are about heart,” Evergreen coach Whitney Walker said. “They’re about keeping your focus under intense conditions. We dug ourselves in a 2-0 hole, but we knew we wanted it. We knew we weren’t going to give up.”
Scrapping and clawing is what the Cougars (8-7-1) have done all season long in a loaded JeffCo League, leaving them battle-tested as they embarked on the postseason.
Glenwood Springs coach Bryan Stoltzfus, whose young team outscored opponents by an average of nearly 3 1/2 goals a contest in the Western Slope League, found himself wishing his Demons had faced stiffer competition in the regular season.
“We went from blowing out some teams and then having one or two hard games the whole season to this,” said the second-year head coach, whose team ended 2009 with a 12-2-1 record. “That doesn’t get you ready for this.”
A pair of goals from Holly Brown in the game’s first 15 minutes had Stoltzfus’ Demons in good shape early.
But the Cougars roared back.
Taking a long pass from Stading, Anna Campbell got just enough separation on the defense to knock home a high shot in the 27th minute. Evergreen leveled the score at 2 with a 20-yarder from Dani Adams late in the first half and went ahead with a high, arcing shot from way out by Geena Jackson late in the second half.
Both shots were virtually indefensible.
“They can shoot from the outside,” Stoltzfus said. “Our keepers were in good position. Those were just great shots.”
The Demons responded by showing some fight, forcing overtime with a goal by Corey Gera. Taking a long pass from Leah Mansfield, who was positioned near midfield, Gera nudged the ball past charging Evergreen keeper Kara Turner. The two collided, but neither appeared to be seriously hurt.
And so the stage was set for Kaufmann’s overtime heroics.
Outcome aside, Stoltzfus liked the resolve his Demons showed against a talented Front Range squad.
“We showed we can play with ’em,” he said. “That was a great matchup. We just need to have more games like that.”
Evergreen will face JeffCo League mate Wheat Ridge, the top seed in the 32-team playoffs, in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday. Wheat Ridge beat Palisade 6-0 in the first round on Tuesday.
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