BOULDER — Fairview sophomore Sarina Russ will get her name in the paper for her game winning goal on Tuesday night in a 2-1 victory against No. 10 Fossil Ridge.
She deserves it for her effort all over the field.
The Knights knew they were going to have to sit back, absorb and disrupt a lot of what the possession-oriented SaberCats — who suffered their second straight loss after starting the season 11-0 — were trying to do, and Russ was one of the central figures in putting the kibosh on that.
"We were respecting the quality of their players up top, so we wanted to absorb today and we actually played a little different style than we normally do," said Fairview coach Jeff Frykholm, whose team — which went into the match No. 19 in the latest RPI rankings — improved to 11-3 overall and 9-2 in the Front Range League.
Despite the victory, the Knights were eliminated from FRL title contention by virtue of Legacy's 2-1 win over Rocky Mountain on Tuesday night. But that didn't take away from their coach's pleasure with how his team played.
"We've been under pressure and we haven't been able to play well out of that, and today we change that tactic to absorb and counter and we got two goals out of it."
Frykholm was quick to praise not just Russ for her effort that may very well have secured them a home playoff match next week, but the entire back line as well.
"She did a ton of work and Sarina was fantastic," Frykholm said. "I thought all of our front line played better defense today than we have in a while."
Said Russ: "It was a team effort, and for me, I just wanted to win this for our seniors since it was senior night. I was just doing whatever I could to keep the ball up there."
Fairview got the all important opening goal in the 35th minute against a very physical Fossil Ridge back line that made sure Tea Smith, who banged a shot off the woodwork in the 11th minute, was not going to beat them.
Freshman Aspen Anderson's shot was initially saved by Vicky Graham, but the junior goalie couldn't control the rebound and it came to the top of the box where Skylar Anderson finished with ease.
It would stay that way until the 60th minute, when Russ put away her fifth goal of the season after a scrum in front, she was simply in the right place at the right time.
"It bounced off a couple of people and I'm not really sure what happened," Russ said, "But it came right to me and I was able to finish it."
Fossil moved a several players forward to join the attack and it was rewarded in the 70th minute with a Remi Clarke goal on a long range strike, but it would be the last quality chance the SaberCats would have. The search for an equalizer never materialized, thanks in large part to a stout effort from the Fairview backline.
FAIRVIEW 2, FOSSIL RIDGE 1
At FairviewFossil Ridge (11-2, 8-2)01—1Fairview (11-3, 9-2)11—2
Goals (assists) — Fairview: Skylar Anderson (unassisted), 35th minute; Sarina Russ (unassisted), 60th; Fossil Ridge: Remi Clarke (unassisted), 70th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fossil Ridge: Vicky Graham (78-2-4), Emily VanGundy (2-0-0); Fairview: Hayden Velds (80-1-4).