THORNTON — The Silver Creek girls soccer team is already battling injuries and is trying to stay strong through what has been a seesawing start to the 2016 season.
The Raptors lost by four on the road to reigning 4A runner-up Lewis-Palmer in the opener, turned around to beat Falcon by four at home and then played to a scoreless overtime tie with Skyline on Monday. The Raptors' wild ride through their first four games continued on Tuesday night with a 1-0 loss to Horizon.
With last year's leading scorers Katy Foster and Bayly Herman sidelined with injury, the Raptors did not put a shot on goal in the game.
"Those were some pretty big holes to fill and we used a lot of subs," Raptors head coach Pat Monacelli said. "We were missing a lot of experience on offense but just like in all our games so far, we're taking from it the positives that we're learning more and more and improving as a team."
The Raptors' first few games of 2016 have gone similarly to the 2015 season, which they started 1-3. The Raptors finished last year with a 9-6-1 record and a 4A Northern League title. In the second game of that season, the Raptors defeated the Horizon Hawks 1-0. In this year's rematch between the Raptors (1-2-1) and Hawks (1-1) on Tuesday, it became apparent when both teams remained scoreless at halftime that one goal might decide the game yet again.
The Hawks, who play in the 5A Front Range League, struck first.
In the 65th minute, Hawks senior Sierra Serna controlled the ball just outside the left corner of the Raptors 18-yard box and fired an unstoppable shot into the upper corner of the far side netting.
"In a game like this when it's scoreless going down to the last 15 minutes, it just takes one little miscue," Monacelli said. "We allowed one girl to get a little room and when you place a shot like she did, it's indefensible. We have a lot of young girls playing back there and they've done a great job, especially in these first three games."
Raptors sophomore goalkeeper Kaeyla Noble saved the first six shots against her until Serna's unreachable goal.
What has proven to be a difficult first week and change for the Raptors won't get any easier when they travel to face third-ranked Evergreen (1-0) at 6 p.m. on Thursday. On Monday, the Raptors will begin the quest to defend their 2015 Northern League title when they open conference play on the road at Northridge (1-1) in Greeley.
Horizon 1, Silver Creek 0
At Horizon H.S.Silver Creek (1-2-1) 0 0 — 0
Horizon (1-1) 0 1 — 1
Goals (assists) — Horizon: Sierra Serna (unassisted), 65th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Silver Creek: Kaeyla Noble (80-1-6); Horizon: Aleigha Perez (80-0-0).