The Fairview girls soccer team used three second-half goals to defeat visiting Ralston Valley 3-0 Tuesday night and advance to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. After a dominant but scoreless first half, the Knights scored three goals in eight minutes late in the game to put away the Mustangs.
"It's playoff soccer, and regardless of the score it's going to be a hard-fought battle until the very end, and that was certainly the case tonight," said Fairview head coach Jeff Frykholm.
The Knights had the majority of possession in the first half but were unable to put the ball in the back of the net.
"I thought we had some really nice moments of possession, but we weren't quite hungry enough to turn the possession into goals. We were good, but we weren't clinical," said Frykholm.
The tide finally turned in favor of the Knights in the 69th minute. Skylar Anderson took a shot from the right side of the box, and the Ralston Valley keeper was unable to hang onto it. The ball fell to the feet of Skylar's sister Aspen, who muscled it in past a couple Mustang defenders on the line to give Fairview the lead.
"I saw my sister taking the shot, and I've always been taught to follow up, so I just had the instinct to follow up and it just happened," Anderson said.
After that, the floodgates opened, as Fairview scored twice in two minutes to put the game away. Danielle Nelson buried a free kick from just outside the box in the 76th minute, and one minute later Georgia Weeks knocked home a rebound off a shot from Aspen Anderson.
Defensively, the Knights were solid again, holding the Mustangs without a shot on goal.
"They're warriors, they play so well together. It's been three out of our last four games now where we've held the other team without a shot on goal. When you play defense that way, you have a chance," Frykholm said.
Next up for Fairview, the No. 9 seed, is a rematch with Rocky Mountain in the second round. The Knights defeated the 8th-seeded Lobos 2-0 last Thursday in the regular season finale.
"It's hard to beat a team twice within a span of a week," said Frykholm. "Rocky Mountain is an outstanding team. We felt we did some outstanding things against them last time, and we'll need to adjust to whatever adjustments they make on us. We're going to have to clean up our finishing in front of goal if we're going to beat them again."
The second-round game will take place at Rocky Mountain on Friday. A time has not yet been announced.
Fairview 3, Ralston Valley 0
At FairviewRalston Valley (7-9)00—0
Goals (assists) — Fairview: A. Anderson (S. Anderson) 69th minute, Nelson (unassisted) 76th minute, Weeks (A. Anderson) 77th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fairview: Velds 80-0-0; Ralston Valley: Routsala 80-3-6.
Christoph Ludwig: 303-473-1313, email@example.com