LONGMONT — Niwot was down 3-2 to Mead with under 10 minutes to play in a crosstown nonleague match, but Cougars coach Rob Johnson never panicked and neither did his girls.
A simple adjustment, sending four forwards to pressure the Mavericks defenders, proved to be beneficial and Niwot scored three times in the final 10 minutes to score a 5-3 win.
"At the end of the day, I don't really think either team wanted to play, it's just been terrible all day and we just came out sheepish and sat there," said Johnson, whose team improved to 9-3 overall with the victory. "You can never say I won't try to win and we started dumping the ball forward and tied it up.
"My assistants asked me, after we tied it up, what are you going to do now? And I said we are staying with four forwards."
The physical and athletic presence of Hannah Gray, Kailee Stobbe and Maddie Barkow as well as Sarah Sypher up top created all sort of problems for the Mavericks in the waning moments.
The Cougars, who peppered Mead goalie Shaylee Jelinek with 11 shots on goal in the final 40 minutes, got the long awaited equalizer in the 71st minute.
Stobbe created separation on her run down the left side of the Mead defense and crossed a ball to Gray who was waiting to finish with a simple volley into the open goal.
Just two minutes later, Stobbe scored the game winner. With Mead's Kelsey Martin lying in a heap at the top of the box after a tough tackle, the officials let the play continue and Stobbe, from just outside the box, sent a low skipping shot through traffic that a shielded Jelinek couldn't react to in time.
"There was absolutely no frustration. Usually when a team is down they start getting frustrated with each other, but we stayed together and stayed positive as a unit," said Stobbe, who added an insurance goal in the 78th minute. "All the girls worked super hard and were there for each other."
It was a cap to frustrating night for the Mavericks, who played very well and had visions of pulling of the upset.
Colorado State-bound senior Maddie Kessler had the Mavericks up 2-0 in the first 13 minutes. She opened the scoring in the 10th minutes with a big left footed shot that skipped past Ali Colvin.
And then similar to the two goals she scored on Wednesday night at Holy Family, Kessler sent in a 30-yard free kick that slipped through the hands of Colvin and in.
Niwot equalized with goals from Gray and Megan Jeske, before Mead regained the lead in the final minute of the half when Camilla Lee hooked up with an unmarked Peyton Fox on the far post.
"Niwot was obviously the better team today, but our girls played with heart again. They played hard and I don't know how many schools have put three on them," said Mavericks coach Mike Schulz, whose team is now .500 at 6-6. "We can attack, but unfortunately their attack was just better than ours today.
"When they moved that extra forward up we were still trying to get another goal and not trying to preserve a one goal lead."
Niwot 5, Mead 3
At MeadMead (6-6) 3 0 — 3
Niwot (9-3) 2 3 — 5
Goals (assists) — Mead: Maddie Kessler (unassisted), 10th minute; Kessler (unassisted), 13th; Niwot: Hannah Gray (Maddie Barkow), 16th; Megan Jeske (Gray), 35th; Mead: Peyton Fox (Camilla Lee), 39th; Niwot: Gray (Kailee Stobbe), 71st; Stobbe (unassisted), 73rd; Stobbe (Sarah Sypher), 78th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Mead: Shaylee Jelinek (80-5-13); Niwot: Ali Colvin (80-3-4).