FORT COLLINS — This one might sting the Fairview Knights for a little bit.
Not just because of the way they lost 2-1 on Tuesday night in overtime against Fort Collins at Fossil Ridge, but more-so for the long reaching effects ... i.e. a Front Range League title.
"We just gave it away," an irked Fairview coach Dan Niedringhaus said. "Plain and simple."
After a scoreless first half that saw the Lambkins (5-3 overall, 4-1) apply early pressure and maintain possession for a majority of time, it was the Knights that broke the scoreless draw early in the second half.
A beautiful shot from distance off the foot of Olivia Hays in the 43rd minute was well placed over the head of Fort Collins keeper Glorianne Trippe — who had no real play on the ball — and gave the Knights, who were held without a shot on frame in the first half, an offensive jolt.
Fairview (4-2-1, 3-1-1) became much more creative and it wasn't relying so much on long balls over the top. The passing efficiency went way up, and while they never finished again, they were able to pepper Trippe with seven second half shots and had the Lambkins defense on their heels.
And much like they did in the first half — notably a Kaylie Shaw whiff on perfect cross into an open net and another a great save by Avery Tallman on Nicole Dietrich — they dodged a few bullets the Lambkins had in their chamber.
A bizarre set of circumstances led to Fort Collins — coached by former Broomfield standout Justin Stephens — having two indirect free kicks from 5 yards out within five second of one another. The first try by Dietrich, drilled right into the Knights' wall on the goal line, resulted in a hand ball — and subsequent yellow card to Vicky Cassarubias.
On the second try from the same spot, Dietrich tried to sneak one to the far post, but had her attempt cleared off the line by Fairview's Kate O'Neil.
"We just had a couple of mental lapses and there is no excuse for it," said Niedringhaus, whose team lost to Fort Collins 1-0 at home last season. "Credit to Fort Collins, they kept pressing and they did a good job with it.
"We let up and they didn't, so God bless'em."
With the match moments from the final whistle, Fort Collins pesky persistence finally paid off. Similar to Hays strike from distance earlier in the half, Lambkins sophomore Bailey Nemechek made the Knight pay with her lengthy blast.
The momentum carried over into the first overtime, where Fort Collins got a great through ball to Dietrich, who got her defender leaning just enough to clear space and get a shot off and she was able to beat Tallman for the winner just three minutes in.
"You can't let your up's be too up and your down's be too down. The only thing you can do is learn from it and bond," Niedringhaus said. "That's a tough one."
Fairview will try to bounce back on Thursday against Mountain Range.
Fort Collins 2, Fairview 1, OT
At Fossil RidgeFairview (4-2-1, 3-1-1) 0 1 0 — 1
Fort Collins (5-3, 4-1) 0 1 1 — 2
Goals (assists) — Fairview: Olivia Hays (unassisted), 43rd; Fort Collins: Bailey Nemechek (unassisted), 78th; Nicole Dietrich (unassisted), 84th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fairview: Avery Tallman (84-2-6); Fort Collins: Glorianne Trippe (84-1-6).