NIWOT — The Niwot Cougars were playing their third game in four days, a product of Mother Nature forcing make-up dates to pile upon one another.
And on Friday afternoon, against an opponent in Greeley Central that didn't present too many problems, the tired legs showed in the first 40 minutes.
A 2-0 lead should have been a lot more, and a both frustrated and understanding coach Rob Johnson had just the motivation for his girls in the second half.
With one of the biggest nights of the year for most high school students, prom night, on Saturday, Johnson had the option of a Saturday practice in his back pocket ... and the girls knew it.
The Cougars, who were never really threatened, had the chance to work on some things and scored a comfortable 9-0 win over the Wildcats.
"I can't complain, these girls are killing themselves, they are working hard," said Johnson, whose team matched rival Silver Creek with a 5-1 record in the Northern League (Raptors own the tiebreaker via a 4-0 win last week). "Life is going on, I'm just trying to keep them focused.
"They get better everyday, so I can't complain."
It wasn't as though the Cougars didn't put forth the effort in the first half, they peppered Greeley Central goalie Racquel Brisceno with 13 shots, but only finished on two of them.
Niwot (7-3 overall) got out of the gates quickly against the packed-in Wildcats (3-7-1, 1-4). A nifty pass from Maddie Barkow was right on the money to Kailee Stobbe, who finished just 1:27 into the match.
They waited 28 minutes to get their next.
"I call this more game control in the sense that if this person goes down, who can play there and throwing some different people into some different positions," Johnson said. "What can we do if we have a problem? That's what I do in a game like this."
Barkow, who finished with four assists, sent a beautiful diagonal pass over the top to a well timed run from Hannah Gray. Gray finished with ease in the 30th minute.
With the onus on not having a Saturday afternoon practice, Niwot opened the scoring floodgates in the second half.
Stobbe scored two more times to record the hat trick. Sarah Sypher scored twice in under two minutes and the Cougars also got second half goals from Anna McCarthy, Megan Jeske and Sage Marten.
Johnson's team will get the rest it needs, have some fun at prom and get back to work for the final few weeks of the regular season before focusing on a playoff push.
"They keep getting better and like I said, they keep getting better and I can give some people some rest," he said. "So I'm happy because we are going 12 or 13 deep and that is it. If I can get more of them rest, and they don't realize they need it, it helps."
Niwot 9, Greeley Central 0
At NiwotGreeley Central (3-7-1, 1-4) 0 0 — 0
Niwot (7-3, 5-1) 2 7 — 9
Goals (assists) — Niwot: Kailee Stobbe (Maddie Barkow), 2nd minute; Hannah Gray (Barkow), 30th; Anna McCarthy (Sarah Sypher), 44th; Sypher (Stobbe), 52nd; Sypher (Barkow), 54th; Stobbe (Charlotte McCarthy), 56th; Stobbe (Barkow), 62nd; Megan Jeske (Emma Richard), 69th; Sage Marten (Nazary Ramirez), 78th..
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Greeley Central: Racquel Brisceno (64-7-11), Blanca Ochoa (16-2-3); Niwot: Sophie Stortz (80-0-1).