LONGMONT — In a game defined by Friday’s gusty elements, one player helped Niwot blow past its competition.
Maria Fayeulle helped the ninth-ranked Cougars net a 1-0 win at Silver Creek with opportunistic play early in the game. But the sophomore knew she had to take her shot when she got the chance.
The constant westerly wind was strong enough to knock a stationary person asunder. With that element looming so large, the striker was taking no second chances when the ball met her foot right in front of the goal.
“I was there at the right time and at the right moment,” Fayeulle said. “I needed to finish it and I was able to.”
Fayeulle’s score came in the 13th minute, delivering Silver Creek (3-1-4, 0-1-0) its first loss of the season in both teams’ Northern League opener. The Niwot attacker beat a one-on-one to set up the play started by Kylie Fisher.
The forward fed the Fayeulle the ball on a high-percentage pass, scooting it across frame and on the ground. Then the striker made a solid read on the keeper, who went for the save expecting the ball to remain on the turf.
“I had to keep it away from the goalie when I saw her sliding,” said Fayeulle, who on the play netted her fourth goal of the season. “So I went up and over with my shot.”
Niwot (3-0-1, 1-0-0) was the more aggressive team on offense to start the game. But the Cougars could make little out of their early attacks.
Silver Creek’s defense was dynamic, making the Cougars earn every look on frame. And outside of what turned out to be Niwot’s game winner, Meghan Jedrzejewski stood tall in the net. The Raptors keeper made four saves on the day, for 69 on the season.
Where Silver Creek struggled was finding the same touch on the other end of the field.
“We have a great defense, we have a strong midfield and we have a lot of young players in the attack,” Silver Creek coach Pat Monacelli said. “We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores trying to find their way in varsity soccer.”
The Raptors could move the ball into the attacking third, but the team struggled putting together the final push on goal. Monacelli chalked some of it up to his young offense’s confidence level. But he also believes it is only a matter of time before they find their finishing finesse.
Not helping matters on the attack was Jenna Schemmel leaving the game around 35th minute after sustaining a head injury on a play near the sideline.
“She is a dynamic center forward, she creates a lot of things,” Monacelli said. “I really felt like she was just getting into her rhythm when she went down out of bound and hit her head on something.”
Even with Silver Creek shorthanded on the attack and Niwot dynamite on defense, the Cougars never anticipated one goal standing for 67 minutes. And even though they fired off only one shot on frame out of half, the Cougars had a the full intention of laying the offense on in the final 40 minutes.
“It just never came,” Niwot coach Jeremy Drake said. “We tried to stick to the game plan, but they held well.”
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Niwot 1, Silver Creek 0
At Silver Creek H.S.
Niwot (3-0-1, 1-0) 1 0 — 1
Silver Creek (3-1-4, 0-1) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Niwot: Maria Fayeulle (Kylie Fisher), 13th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Niwot: Kim Schoep (80-0-3). Silver Creek Meghan Jedrzejewski (80-1-4).