NIWOT — Never judge a book by its cover or a Colorado Springs area soccer team by its record.
Niwot coach Stephen Dimit and his team were thrilled about their No. 9 overall seeding in the Class 4A state tournament, they would have liked to avoid one of the state premier programs in Lewis-Palmer in the first round.
That being said, Niwot had held serve at home all season — having out-scored opponents 24-0 at home in eight matches — and were confident about their prospects of advancing.
It wasn't to be though, and the visiting Rangers made a 38th minute goal from junior Adrianna Cook stand up for a 1-0 victory.
"They play a ridiculously tough schedule in preparation for this moment and I think it showed today," said Dimit, of his 24th seeded opponent that will go to the second round against either Standley Lake or The Academy on Saturday with a 9-5-2 record.
"We went to-to-toe with them and I'm proud of us."
Niwot, the co-Northern League champions with Silver Creek, finished the season 10-5-1 and made great strides with a young team.
"There were so many cool things, like the way we had to battle for conference and holding opponents scoreless and understanding that was the task ahead of us," Dimit said. "And doing that was so impressive.
"We allowed one goal on our home turf and unfortunately it was today."
The controversial goal came in the waning moments of the first half. The Rangers were awarded a corner kick after the ball went out off of the attacker, but the shielded central official didn't see it that way.
Lewis-Palmer capitalized after the ball pinged around the box before eventually landing on the foot of Cook, who was able to beat Cougars goalie Allie Colvin.
"We see calls go both ways all the time and we try to prepare for those," Dimit said. "But you have to give credit to her, it was good shot."
Niwot threw everything they had an more in the second half at the Rangers defense and goalie Kaity Hovasse.
Senior Anna McCarthy slid a shot just wide in the 44th minute, but the one that will haunt her was in the 62nd. Ava Dumler's through ball sprung McCarthy on a 1-on-1 chance with Hovasse, and the Rangers keeper — who finished with 10 saves — timed her challenge just right and made a sliding save to preserve the clean sheet.
"And that's soccer. Sometimes you come up against a very good opponent and they were hungry too," Dimit said. "I was really happy with how we played and created a ton of chances. I thought we had a good week of practice and came in prepared, but their keeper had a stand out day and I thought she was incredible and it took everything she had to take what we were throwing at her."
LEWIS-PALMER 1, NIWOT 0
At NiwotLewis-Palmer (9-5-2) 1 0 — 1
Niwot (10-5-1) 0 0 — 0
Goal (assists) — Lewis-Palmer: Adrianna Cook (unassisted), 38th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Lewis-Palmer: Kaity Hovasse (80-0-10); Niwot: Allie Colvin (80-1-6).