FORT COLLINS — The Front Range League in girls soccer is essentially its own playoff bracket.
So it's no surprise that Fairview senior Julia Masciarelli felt a little bit like the Knights girls soccer team had let an opportunity slip by with the result of Thursday's league finale at Rocky Mountain.
Yet, as the regular season came to a conclusion with a 1-0 loss to the Lobos at French Field, Masciarelli spoke with an air of confidence in saying that the passion the Knights carry with them to the playoffs is a dangerous commodity.
"I think that we just need to regroup at practice, and we talked at halftime and we think that our energy and our passion is really there so we just need to continue to fight," Masciarelli, a defensive captain for head coach Jeff Frykholm, said. "We need to finish our opportunities, and I think we can have a run in the playoffs."
Truly, the Knights are playing strong as they enter the Class 5A postseason, having an 11-4 record with just one loss coming by more than a single goal. They put Fossil Ridge away early on Tuesday at home to keep them in the conversation for a first round home game.
Sitting at No. 15 in the ratings percentage index prior to Thursday — Fossil Ridge checks in at No. 16 with a game against Broomfield still to go and Pine Creek (10-4) is No. 17 — that possible home contest is now a little more in question after falling to Rocky (RPI No. 11).
That was where Frykholm was honestly most disappointed with the outcome.
"We got down a goal and had to chase, and that's when things break down just a little bit," Frykholm said. "We need to let it go and quickly rebound at practice.
"We might have lost the chance to host tonight, but you never know. We could have assured that, and now it comes to hopefully we do get that."
As far as the play on the field Thursday, he had very few complaints other than a few frantic moments after giving up the lone goal to Mikayla Eccher in the 51st minute.
Possession didn't really favor either team much, but Fairview worked for a number of corner kick chances throughout the game — the Knights had 10 corners overall and six came in the first 20 minutes. Not only did they fail to capitalize in those chances, but they hardly got anything resembling a shot on frame with everyone boxed in.
"It's frustrating because usually we do get a lot of chances up top ... we just were a little unlucky today and their keeper was great, too," Masciarelli said. "Their defense was just tight on those corners."
Hardly content with the stalemate at halftime, Skylar Anderson got in a good, hard shot at goal in the 45th minute that sailed just over the bar. But Rocky ended the scoreless tussle just a few minutes later, when Eccher managed a tight dribble-and-turn in the box and potted the ball to the near post.
Tea Smith had a few hard shots while being tightly defended, but she did get a chance for a free kick from 30 yards in the 75th minute that teetered with the top shelf of the goal. Rocky goalie Gabriella McDonald got a hand on it, just in case.
Rocky Mountain continued its impressive season defensively as the Lobos have surrendered just seven goals all season.
Home or road game for the Knights pending, the 5A first round will take place May 9.
Rocky Mountain 1, Fairview 0
At French FieldFairview (11-4, 9-3) 0 0—0
Rocky Mountain (12-3, 10-2) 0 1—1
Goals (assists) —Rocky Mountain: Mikayla Eccher (unassisted), 51st minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fairview: Hayden Velds (80-1-3); Rocky Mountain: Gabriella McDonald (80-0-6).