LONGMONT — With a log jam developing in the upper half of the Northern League, the second half of the girls soccer season will be full of critical games for teams like third-place Longmont and fourth-place Niwot.
On Tuesday, Niwot made a significant move up the Northern League standings. Unfortunately for Longmont, the move came at the Trojans' expense.
Playing at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont, the visiting Niwot Cougars defeated the Longmont Trojans, 2-1 to steal third place in the conference standings.
"This is always a tough game and it's great to get out of it still with one league loss," Niwot coach Rob Johnson said. "Everybody's just battling in the league right now and we have two more league games this week so we need to keep going."
Senior Sarah Sypher gave the Cougars (5-3, 3-1 Northern) an early lead with an unassisted goal in the 12th minute and junior teammate Kailee Stobbe pushed the lead to 2-0 off a long assist from teammate Hannah Gray in the 18th minute. The Cougars held their two-goal lead until halftime.
Just six minutes into the second half, The Trojans (3-5, 3-2 Northern) cut into the lead when sophomore forward Kennedi Ghesquiere headed in a high cross from teammate Amanda Kowalski. After Ghesquiere's score, the Trojans made their best effort to come back but couldn't put home any of their three shots in the final 30 minutes.
"The biggest thing for us in this one, I think, is that we really would have benefited from another goal because then we would be up 3-1 instead of 2-1 because once they got it to 2-1, we got a little tight," Johnson said. "It felt like we really didn't want to get scored on instead of just letting the game continue. Longmont always battles us and does a great job so we got a little shell-shocked."
The Trojans had won three of four before Tuesday's loss. They also led the Northern in scoring by a wide margin, having tallied 23 in-conference goals through their first four games. But despite looking like the aggressors early on and then trailing by two goals at halftime, Trojans head coach Mike DiGiallonardo said he thought it was one of the better games his team has played this season.
"I told my girls I was very proud of them and it was a great game," DiGiallonardo said. "They stayed in it the whole time and we had our opportunities to score. As a team, we gelled tonight so it truly was one of our best games this season."
Up next on the schedule for Niwot, the Cougars will host Northridge on Thursday. The Trojans scheduled to play Mead on Thursday.
Niwot 2, Longmont 1
At Longmont H.S.Niwot (5-3, 3-1) 2 0 — 2
Longmont (3-5, 3-2) 0 1 — 1
Goals (assists) — Niwot: Sarah Sypher, 12th minute; Kailee Stobbe (Hannah Gray), 18th minute; Longmont: Kennedi Ghesquiere, 46th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Niwot: Ali Colvin (40-0-2), Sophie Stortz (40-1-1); Longmont: Franchesska Ramirez (80-2-2).