NIWOT — Senior Mary Stischer is having the best goal-scoring week of her high school career and that breakout success is coming at exactly the right time for the Niwot girls soccer team.
Stischer now has four goals in her prep career after scoring one goal in each of the Cougars' past three games. Her latest goal, a 45th-minute score assisted by teammate Anna McCarthy on Thursday against Northridge, likely was the biggest goal of the Cougars' season to date. Breaking a tie score and delivering a 1-0 victory, Stischer's goal kept the Cougars undefeated in Northern League play and in a tie atop the league standings with Silver Creek.
"I'm very happy that I could, like my coach said after the game, be the hero for today," Stischer said. "It feels great to be able to do that for my teammates. I think this just gives us more momentum going into playoffs and if we can keep this rolling, we're going to go far."
After beating the Grizzlies (10-2, 5-1 Northern) in their final conference game of the season, the Cougars (10-3-1, 6-0-1 Northern) remained undefeated in Northern League play. They also have yet to concede a goal on their home field at Niwot High School, where they have outscored opponents 24-0 in eight home games.
"It's very exciting because it shows how hard we've worked for this," Stischer said. "It took all of our skill put together to win because they're a good team. This has been a great season so far because we have a team that works well together and everyone works as hard as everyone else."
With no conference games remaining, the Cougars will be keeping a close eye on area rival Silver Creek's final two league games. On April 10, the Cougars played to a scoreless tie with the Raptors (10-0-2, 4-0-1 Northern), who have two remaining league games against Northridge and Centaurus (5-4-1, 3-2 Northern). If the Raptors, who are currently ranked No. 2 in the CHSAANow.com poll, lose or draw in either of their final conference games, the Cougars would be outright Northern League champions.
Knowing the closeness of what was a three-team Northern League race when the sun rose on Thursday, Niwot head coach Stephen Dimit was thrilled to see his team attack Northridge with a heightened level of intensity.
"I'm incredibly proud of them," Dimit said. "The past couple of games have kind of been blowouts and the girls could have taken a couple weeks off. But everybody kept working really hard with this in mind. We're really proud of the home shutout record and that really fueled us today as much as anything. That's the way to do it and now we're hoping for the league title, or at least a share of the title, which would mean as much or more."
With a week to regroup and let minor injuries heal, the Cougars will finish up the season on the road at Littleton (6-4-2) on Thursday.
Niwot 1, Northridge 0
At Niwot H.S.Northridge (10-2, 5-1) 00—0
Niwot (10-3-1, 6-0-1) 01—1
Goals (assists) —Niwot: Mary Stischer (Anna McCarthy), 45th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Northridge: Riley Fuhrmann (80-1-5); Niwot: Alexandra Colvin (80-0-2).