Fatigue was setting in and so was the very real possibility that the Fairview girls soccer team's third game in three days was about to go to overtime.
"It's a lot to play in a week," freshman Sarina Russ said. "We were feeling it at the end."
Russ found enough energy to end it and send Fairview into the playoffs on a high note. Her second goal of the game, in the 76th minute, broke a tie and gave the Knights a 2-1 win over Rocky Mountain on Thursday night.
The victory against the Lobos won't mean a Class 5A Front Range League crown - "I believe they have us by a point," Fairview coach Dan Niedringhaus said - but Fairview (10-3-2, 9-1-2) has momentum heading into next week's postseason.
"We talked about before the game - the playoffs started tonight," Niedringhaus said. "We used this as a springboard for the playoffs and these girls just killed it. This was the third game in three days. It was all heart."
It was Fairview's third game in a span of 48 hours, and the Knights were heading to an overtime game when a scramble just outside the box left the ball on Russ' foot, and she beat keeper Gabriella McDonald with a rocket.
It also came about two minutes after Brooke Berdan had a chance to score but sent a shot over the empty goal.
"Once that happened I put in a substitute and said, 'When you score we're going to go back into a different formation,' and that's exactly what happened," Niedringhaus said. "The girls kept it positive."
The Knights were trailing late in the first half before Russ' goal in the final minute tied it. Berdan worked the ball around McDonald and passed it to Russ in front, and she only had to tap it into the empty net to make it 1-1
"You don't want to think about it too much," she said.
Fairview senior goalkeeper Avery Tallman kept her team in the game with two aggressive plays in the final 10 minutes. Twice Rocky Mountain (11-3-1, 10-2-0) had a chance in close but Tallman came out and played the ball before the Lobos could get a shot off.
"It's more of an instinct thing," Tallman said. "If I see the girl take a long touch I know I have to go for it or it's going to be a goal. It doesn't always work but today it paid off."
The Knights now get a few days off before starting the postseason on Tuesday. After a playoff-type game against the Lobos they are ready for the next season.
"It's a good way to start off going into the playoffs," Russ said.
Fairview 2, Rocky Mountain 1
At Fairview High SchoolRocky Mountain 1 0 — 1
Fairview 1 1 — 2
Goals (assists) — Rocky Mountain: Mikayla Eccher (Savannah Warner), 23rd minute; Fairview: Sarina Russ (Brooke Berdan), 40th minute; Russ (Tea Smith) 76th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Rocky Mountain: Gabriella McDonald (80-2-8); Fairview: Avery Tallman (80-1-6)..