GREELEY -- You can't blame the Silver Creek girls for stepping on the pitch at District 6 Stadium in Greeley with a little bit of confidence against the Northridge Grizzlies.
And rightfully so. The Raptors have always had their number and, even though the Grizzlies entered with an impressive 5-1 record in nonleague play, it didn't matter.
But Northridge -- coached by former University of Northern Colorado quarterback Tom Beck, who guided the Bears to a 1996 National Championship -- appears to have figured things out, and on a blustery Friday night in Greeley beat the visiting Raptors 2-1 in both teams' Northern League opener.
It was a frustrating night for the Raptors, who had the run of play and created a multitude of chances, outshooting Northridge 8-3 on frame. But only one of those chances came to fruition.
"We create chances and we think we are going to keep creating, but we have to bury them," said Silver Creek coach Rob Johnson, who cited the same problems in the teams two previous losses. "(Northridge) is very good and it's going to come down to them and us."
Perhaps the most frustrated of all the Raptors on Friday night was senior Emily Feller. She will look back at three quality chances and wonder what might mave been.
The match wasn't 10 minutes old when she appeared to catch Northridge goalie Nohelia Pena napping and nearly beat her, but Pena recovered in time to punch the ball over her bar.
In the 25th minute, Feller banged one off the bar ... it wouldn't be the last time in the match, either.
"We just didn't finish our chances," a clearly frustrated Feller said. "We got broken down twice and that is what cost us."
Northridge broke the ice in the 35th minute. A transition goal saw Maryssa Lucero set up freshman Addie Randal, who snuck a shot under Raptors keeper Kaeyla Noble.
Silver Creek played its best soccer of the match in the first 15 minutes of the second half and were rewarded for their effort in 46th minute. With numbers in the box, the ball bounced around several time before landing on the foot of Alexa Karsel, who was able to equalize.
It was almost given right back less than a minute later, when the Grizzlies were awarded a questionable penalty kick. But Beck's daughter Kyla chipped her attempt high.
Lucero would bag the game-winner in the 62nd minute on another defensive give-away that created a one-on-one chance with Noble.
Feller's last near-miss came with 26 second left, when she created space and her shot beat Pena but banged off the woodwork and was cleared.
"I thought she had that one, but we have to have people following," Johnson said. "We just can't be lazy."
NORTHRIDGE 2, SILVER CREEK 1
At NorthridgeSilver Creek (5-3, 0-1)01—1
Northridge (6-1, 1-0)11—2
Goals (assists) —Northridge: Addie Randal (Maryssa Lucero), 35th minute; Silver Creek: Silver Creek: Alexa Karsel (Emily Reitz), 46th; Northridge: Lucero (unassisted), 62nd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Silver Creek: Kaeyla Noble (80-2-1); Northridge: Nohelia Pena (80-1-7).