LOUISVILLE -- After struggling mightily to put their shots on target Saturday at Broomfield, the Monarch girls soccer players spent much of practice Monday working on finishing their opportunities on the offensive end of the field.
All that practice proved to pay off Tuesday when the Coyotes hosted Fairview.
Monarch found the back of the net three times against the Knights, the final goal coming with just 6 minutes remaining in a tied match to give MHS a 3-2 upset victory.
The win proved a nice boost for a squad that had already been eliminated from playoff contention.
"This was such a big win," said sophomore striker Cassie Owens, who had two goals on the day, including the game-winner. "None of us expected it. We came in and we were thinking, 'This is going to be that game, tough to win,' but we did it."
With the match tied 2-2 in the 74th minute, the Coyotes were awarded a free kick from 50 yards out following a Fairview foul. Senior defender Gina Ogg stepped up and booted a long ball against the wind, which came falling to the ground around the top of the 18 yard box.
The ball bounced over the Knights' line of defenders, allowing an unmarked Owens to run onto it. The striker was then able to get her head on it for a deflection that sailed over FHS keeper Rachel DeCurnou and into the goal, securing her team-leading 17th score of the season and a huge win for her squad.
"It feels great to beat a good team," Monarch coach Ryan Henkel said. "(Fairview) is a team that's going to go to the playoffs and have a lot of success, and for us to have this success late in the season makes this feel really good for our program."
MoHi shocked the Knights by jumping out to an early lead after Owens raced past the Fairview defenders to chase down a ball in the corner of the field. The forward then dribbled to the center of the pitch and released a shot from 12 yards out that found the corner of the net. The Coyotes added to their lead 5 minutes later when Ogg put a free kick from 30 yards out into the upper 90 and out of the reach of the DeCurnou.
But Fairview began to turn the tide late in the first half when senior Daphnee Morency received a ball in front of her bench with only 10 seconds remaining on the clock. The senior maneuvered past the MoHi defense toward the penalty spot where she unleashed a strike that hit the net with less than a second remaining on the scoreboard.
The Knights continued their attack after intermission, dominating possession and firing numerous shots at the Monarch goal. But back-up keeper Mae Williams, filling in for ill starter Brittany Frysinger, proved to be up to the challenge. The sophomore made a number of difficult saves as she saw FHS attempt 16 shots in the half. The only blemish on her day came when Fairview's Nikola Machalek put in a goal from 16 yards out in the 54th minute.
Junior varsity player Kaylee Mickens started in goal and played the first half for the Coyotes before giving way to Williams.
"Mae did a fantastic job," said Henkel. "She's been playing on the field for us for the last six games and to come in and jump in the goal and have a half like that ... It makes me really happy to know that when someone is sick we have someone else."
Fairview must now recover and prepare for their regular-season finale Thursday at Poudre. That match may have immense postseason implications for the Knights, who came into Tuesday sitting in third place in Front Range League standings.
"It's really important for our team to rebound because we want that first home game in the playoffs," senior defender Berkley Gamble said. "We're just going to have to change our attitudes, change the way we warm up and change the way we practice tomorrow. Hopefully that will lead to a change in the way we play."
Monarch 3, Fairview 2
At Monarch H.S.
Fairview (7-5-2, 6-3-1) 1 1 -- 2
Monarch (6-8-0, 3-7-0) 2 1 -- 3
Goals (assists) -- Monarch: Owens, 23rd minute; Monarch: Ogg, 28th minute; Fairview: Morency, 40th minute; Fairview: Machalek 54th minute; Monarch: Owens (Ogg), 74th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) -- Fairview: DeCurnou (80-3-2); Monarch: (40-1-4), Williams (40-1-10).