LONGMONT — Skyline coach Luis Chavez took one look at his girls at halftime on Tuesday and asked them if he was dreaming.
His Falcons had just put together 40 minutes of the best soccer they had played in a long time and against an opponent they had never beat before in Niwot.
"My hopes and expectation were really high and they came out to prove what they can do," Chavez said. "It was just beautiful to see how organized their soccer was from the beginning."
Despite a few hiccups in the second half that lead to two Niwot goals, the Falcons also bagged two more and scored a 4-2 win over the Cougars and allowed Chavez to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary in style.
"This was just one of those days," said Chavez, who planned on celebrating afterwards with his wife Francis.
The Falcons, who improved to 2-1, got clicking from the get-go. Just over 90 seconds into the match, Whitney Parkinson and Kalen Niedling transitioned and nearly hooked up for a opening tally that would have set the tone.
Even though they didn't score, the early momentum tilted the field in Skyline's favor. Niedling had the Cougars defense on it heels and drew a foul from just outside the box and the ensuing direct free kick banged off the underside of Alexandra Colvin's crossbar.
The persistence finally paid off in the 20th minute. Parkinson scored the first of her two goals when she was able to push one past Colvin.
The lead would grow to 2-0 in the 33rd minute, when the Falcons would make Niwot pay for a mistake in the midfield. A turnover was followed by three well connected passes that ended with Brie Musser setting up freshman Petra Gilbert's goal.
"We are just trying to make it a little more unpredictable and be a little more comfortable with the ball at our feet," Chavez said. "And the transition game has been crucial and today it was beautiful."
The Falcons' crucial third goal came in the 49th minute, again on transition and it was another freshman, Lindrey Schendel, that set up Parkinson's eventual game-winner.
Niwot clawed back and had it to 4-2 with under 14 minutes to play on goals from Madison Barkow and Mary Stischer. A Skyline penalty in the box gave Niwot a penalty kick and a chance to make it a one goal game, but Barkow's chance sailed high.
"It's a wake-up call for a young team," said Niwot coach Stephen Dimit, whose team dropped to 1-2. "I didn't have them as prepared as Luis had his girls and they came out on fire. Their wings torched us all day and they battled for it."
The win was especially gratifying for one Skyline senior that wanted nothing more than to beat the Cougars just once in her high school career.
It was in this same match last season that Rachel Billeter tore up her knee for the second time and was forced to miss the rest of the season. On Tuesday, sporting a huge knee brace on her left knee, Billeter anchored a Falcons defense that frustrated Niwot.
"My team came out and played for me after I tore my ACL last year and I felt like we needed to come out and win it this time," said Billeter, whose defensive running mate Maddie Lindauer had a matching knee brace on. "This is just going to be the start to our season, and hopefully we can keep this going."
SKYLINE 4, NIWOT 2
At SkylineNiwot (1-2)02—2
Goals (assists) — Skyline: Whitney Parkinson (unassisted), 20th minute; Petra Gilbert (Brie Musser), 33rd; Parkinson (Lindrey Schendel), 49th; Niwot: Madison Barkow (unassisted), 52nd; Skyline: Sabrina Bridwell (unasissted), 60th; Niwot: Mary Stischer (unassisted), 73rd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Niwot: Alexandra Colvin (80-4-2); Skyline: Kenna Meier (66-2-2), Grace Miller (14-0-0).