PARKER - This rematch lived up to expectations.
Unfortunately for the Broomfield girls' soccer team, the end result was the same.
In a redo of last year's Class 5A state title game, the No. 12-seeded Eagles and No. 1 Grandview squared off in a semifinals match Saturday at Sports Authority Stadium. For 77 minutes the game was scoreless as defense ruled the day.
But with 2:20 remaining, Grandview sophomore forward Morgan Szarka - off a brilliant cross from sophomore midfielder Lindsi Jennings - whizzed a shot past Broomfield senior goalie Shannon Mooney and into the back of the net. The Wolves held serve as the clock wound down, sending them to Wednesday's finals against Mountain Vista.
Broomfield players found it hard to hold their emotions after the match.
"I take responsibility for that goal," said Broomfield senior defender Zoe Zinis. "I just didn't track her. She just got through."
Szarka said the window to score her goal opened at the last second.
"I saw Lindsi dribbling down the side and I saw the cross coming at me and I kicked it and somehow it went around (Zinis)," Zsarka said. "The cross kind of curved into me and that may have helped with my shot."
A steady northerly wind also may have played a factor in the goal. Grandview had the wind at its back in the second half and used that to its advantage as it pressured a weary Broomfield squad.
"We chose going into the wind in the first half because we knew we were going to have it in the second half," said Grandview coach Tari Wood. "It would have been a dream to be down only 1-0 at halftime, so I was very pleased when it was scoreless."
Zinis shouldered the load for the game's lone score, but she played an absolutely sensational game against a Grandview team that is ranked second in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Zinis nearly gave the Eagles (15-3-1) the lead with 10:53 remaining in the first half when her thundering free kick from 40 yards nearly got over the head of Grandview (17-0-1) sophomore goalkeeper Reagan McCombs, who leaped high in the air and pulled it down with her outstretched arms.
"We knew with the wind at our backs our free kicks would go far," Zinis said.
Broomfield's best chances to score in the second half occurred less than three minutes apart. With 14:27 remaining, Wyoming-bound senior Michaela Stark blistered a shot from the top of the box that McCombs saved with a diving stop to her right.
At the 11:47 mark, Stark was had another great opportunity, but her blast was kicked away by Grandview sophomore defender Allie Zerr and never reached the net.
"If I had the chance to do it all over again I probably would have done something different (with those shots)," said Stark, whose 25 goals this season led the Eagles.
Stark was proud of the way her team played.
"We worked our butts off and gave (Grandview) a run for their money," she said. "I feel we had a great season, especially with how people doubted us. We definitely had a chip on our shoulder and we really wanted to go out there and beat then because they beat us in the championship game last year. But we did everything we could and we looked great out there."
Broomfield had an impressive postseason run. The Eagles won their first three playoff games by a combined 10-0 score over No. 21 Chaparral (6-0), No. 5 Pine Creek (2-0) and No. 4 ThunderRidge (2-0). The Eagles allowed just eight goals all season
Grandview outscored it first three playoff opponents 15-0 and has given up just six goals this spring.
Grandview 1, Broomfield 0
At Sports Authority StadiumBroomfield (15-3-1) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Grandview: Morgan Szarka (Lindsi Jennings), 78th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Broomfield: Shannon Mooney 80-1-6; Grandview: Reagan McCombs 80-0-4.