BROOMFIELD — Something had to give on Tuesday night between Monarch and Broomfield.
Both teams, ranked in the preseason top 10 of the CHSAANow.com poll, entered their Front Range League opener a flawless 3-0 and eager to notch an early momentum builder going into the meat of the FRL schedule.
It was the Coyotes on a cold, wet and windy night at Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium that stayed perfect with a 2-1 win over the Eagles.
"It is definitely a game you can build on and take away a lot of confidence from," said Monarch coach Eric Schmidt, whose team remained disciplined throughout the match. "We worked hard over our spring break, especially defensively.
"We knew what they were going to bring, knew their formation, knew how great they were and Jim (Davidson)'s a great coach. We are very disciplined, very smart, we worked hard defensively. The group wanted it, they earned it and they deserved it."
Monarch, ranked No. 9 in that preseason poll and champions of the prestigious Arapahoe tournament, was playing its first game in 10 days and improved to 4-0 overall, 1-0 in the FRL.
The two teams, who both looked a little rusty after the weather and spring break layoff, spent much of the first 30 minutes of the match trying to get a feel for one another.
It was the Coyotes that got their break in the 31st minute. Broomfield played a ball back to goalkeeper Shannon Mooney, who misplayed it and had to scramble back to her far post and make a save before the ball crossed. But the referee's whistled her for using her hands and it set up an indirect free kick for Monarch from the penalty spot.
With a wall of Broomfield players on the goal line to help Mooney, Coyotes senior Kristin Barbour took dead aim and powered a shot through the wall.
"I was thinking about placing it," Barbour said. "But in the end, I just kicked it as hard as I could and it ended up working out for us."
The goal seemed to light a fire in the Eagles, who made several quality run for an equalizer before the half, but on two of their best chances, they were turned away by Monarch keeper Sophia Chen.
She turned away Gia Lemley and Hailey Stodden with huge diving saves to maintain the 1-0 lead at the break.
The Coyotes would get the eventual game winning goal 12 minutes into the second half off of a throw-in that made its way through the box and settled on the right foot of Melissa Myer, who finished with ease.
Less than a minute later, Chen — who finished with eight saves — made the best stop of the night when she denied Makena Bambei.
"It was all adrenaline. It just keeps you going. We were all nervous coming into the game, but we used that to channel our energy," Chen said. "We have a lot of respect for (Broomfield) and this is a a good win."
Michaela Stark would cut the lead in half with 24 minutes left on the clock. Moments after missing a good chance that skimmed off the top of the bar, Stark, from basically the same spot, finally got one past Chen.
The Eagles had one more real quality chance in the 63rd when Stodden crossed a ball to Stark, whose one-touch volley went right into the belly of Chen.
"I thought they were super organized and they knew who they were. They executed their game-plan really well," said Davidson, whose No. 2 Eagles drop to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the FRL. "They really weren't going to come attack us all that much, they did get on the counter a few times, but they played a bunch of numbers behind the ball and lets face it, we gave up to horror-show goals on those set pieces.
"They deserve a lot of credit because Eric had them very well organized and their defense is a very difficult defense to break down."
Monarch 2, Broomfield 1
At BroomfieldMonarch 1 1 — 2
Broomfield 0 1 — 1
Goals (assists) — Monarch: Kristin Barbour (unassisted), 31st minute; Melissa Myer (unassisted), 52nd; Broomfield: Michaela Stark (unassisted), 57th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Monarch: Sophia Chen (80-1-8); Broomfield: Shannon Mooney (80-2-1).