BOULDER — Blythe Sales scored four minutes into the game Thursday night, and her goal proved to be the lone difference for the Fairview Knights to defeat the Boulder Panthers 1-0 at Recht Field. The win sees Fairview extend its current win streak over its crosstown rival to six straight.
"This is all I care about in the season, to beat Boulder," Sales said. "Scoring the goal was pretty awesome."
In what turned out to be a tightly contested game, Blythe's goal was an odd difference in the Knights victory.
Blythe took a corner kick from the left side of the Boulder goal looking to put the ball in close to the net. Right before taking the kick, she choose to instead put a curved shot on goal near the post to force Boulder goalkeeper Alex Smith to try and make a stop. An awkward angle and bounce resulted in the ball going into the net for a good goal.
"I heard one of my fans in the background yelling for me to get this one in," Sales said. "I don't know what got into me, but I decided to go for the shot. I tried to curve it in and it did."
Sales' coach, Steve Griggs, credited her with the way she took the shot to get the goal.
"It was lucky really, but it was a low-driven ball into the box trying to be a dangerous ball, which was good on Blythe's part," Griggs said.
Sarah Maruyama tried to answer for Boulder with a long penalty kick and Sara Reardon had a hard shot deflected off a Fairview defender to allow Hayden Velds to make the stop for the Knights. Chances were limited in the first half for Boulder to get the equalizer early.
The halftime break proved to be a turning point for the Boulder offense to get more scoring chances. Using a different formation, shots began to reach the goal. The Panthers got a great look on cross attempt in front of the net to Reilly Madden, but she could not put it on net with the open look. A few more shots on goal followed, and the intensity went up for the remainder of the second half with Boulder putting the pressure on Fairview.
"I was playing with three in the back, but we switched it up to try and contain their forwards who are very good and very fast," Boulder coach Carlos Real said. "We tried a 4-5-1 to begin with and then transitioned to a 4-3-3. That seemed to work in the second half, it was much better."
Hannah Dudiak had the best look to tie the game at the midway point of the half when she got behind a defender and streaked up the right sideline to chase down a through ball, only to see her shot sail wide. The great chances in the half brought new life to the Boulder players to put more pressure on and attack with a faster offense, resulting in more shots on goal late. Smith would make a huge save herself to keep Boulder down a goal with minutes to spare.
In the end, Fairview held off its rivals to walk away with their second straight 1-0 win this week.
"It takes a lot of focus," Sales said. "Having the crowd really helps, they were big. It took focus, heart and grit to pull out a win against our rivals."
Real on the other side was proud of his team's efforts despite coming up short.
"I told them I am proud to be their coach and to be around them in practice and games," Real said. "They are the hardest workers that I have had with any team, and it shows. My message to them is that we come back against Smoky Hill and do it again."
Fairview 1, Boulder 0
At Recht FieldFAIRVIEW (5-2) 1 0 — 1
Goals (assists) —Fairview: Blythe Sales 4th minute; Boulder: none.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fairview: Hayden Velds (80-0-7); Boulder: Alex Smith (80-1-8).