PARKER - Her academic life at Broomfield High School ended Saturday morning, but two big kicks from Hailey Stodden on Saturday afternoon kept her athletic career with the Eagles alive for one more game.
Stodden graduated Saturday morning and continued the big day by scoring on two penalty kicks - the second one with 7:45 left in overtime - to lift the Eagles to a 3-2 win over Rock Canyon in the 5A semifinal match at EchoPark Stadium.
The victory sets up a championship battle with the top two seeds in 5A on Wednesday night when Broomfield takes on No. 1 Grandview.
It's the first time the Eagles (18-0-1) will play for the title since 2015, and they're going for their first championship since 2006.
"It means a lot for this particular group," coach Jim Davidson said. "This senior class has been exceptional."
The seniors were freshmen the last time Broomfield played in the title game, and for much of Saturday it looked like that would be their only appearance in the championship round. Rock Canyon's Jamie Tatum scored on a penalty kick in the final minute of the first half gave the Jaguars a 1-0 lead at intermission.
Davidson said his team was "miserable in the first half," in large part because of the commencement ceremony earlier in the day.
"I think we had some trouble separating the morning from the afternoon," he said. "That's a hard transition, almost an impossible transition, but the girls went and got the game."
It took a while. After some near misses in the second half Ashley Tuccio tied the game in the 70th minute off a corner kick.
Then Stodden was fouled in the box, and she calmly put the Eagles ahead 2-1 with a penalty kick with 2 minutes, 35 seconds left. It looked like the game winner until Jamie Tatum tied it with her second goal of the afternoon with 1:35 left.
"It motivated us to play better," Stodden said. "We were earning it more than they were."
She proved that midway through the first overtime. She got the ball about 25 yards out and dribbled around a Jaguar defender, who took her down in the box.
"Three penalty kicks is rare," Davidson said. "The official had a lot of courage to call that one in overtime."
Stodden didn't hesitate, beating goalkeeper Kenna Calwell with the same penalty shot to set off a celebration.
"Sometimes I like to switch it up but I trusted the spot was good," Stodden said. "It worked the first time and I knew the second time if I keep it wide enough it would go in again."
She guessed right, and her time as an Eagle was extended one more game.
Broomfield 3, Rock Canyon 2 (OT)
At Echo ParkRock Canyon (16-3-0)110—2
Goals (assists) —Rock Canyon: Jamie Tatum (penalty kick), 40th minute; Tatum, 79th minute; Broomfield: Ashley Tuccio (Jessie Mooney) 70th minute; Hailey Stodden (penalty kick), 78th minute; Stodden (penalty kick), 88th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Rock Canyon: Kenna Calwell 88-3-9; Broomfield: Grace Fuller 88-2-6.