BOULDER — It didn’t take Sarah Radzihovsky long to become the golden girl on Saturday afternoon.
The sophomore forward, who subbed in for the Boulder girls soccer team just before the end of regulation, scored the golden goal 29 seconds into overtime to give the Panthers a 2-1 victory over fifth-ranked Legacy at Recht Field.
Wearing an apparently lucky jersey No. 13, Radzihovsky took a long pass from Aimee Anderson up the right side of the field and beat onrushing Legacy goalkeeper Aish Narang to score the game-winner from about 20 yards out with 4:31 left in overtime.
“She finished it like a professional — cool, calm and collected — and we’re proud of her for that,” BHS coach Gary Grammer said.
“It was amazing,” Radzihovsky said of the second varsity goal of her career. “A lot of people were getting hurt today and we’re still rotating through players, so I didn’t get that much (playing) time, but I knew when I went in I had to get it done.”
The Panthers’ fourth consecutive victory, which Grammer called the biggest single win of his two seasons as BHS’ head coach, kept Boulder undefeated at 4-0-2 (3-0 in the Front Range League). That’s not bad for a team that went 5-9-1 last year and has no seniors this spring.
“I totally expected (a big improvement in record this year),” Grammer said. “We played well last year — we really did — but we were a year younger all across the board. … It’s like watching them climb a ladder.”
Legacy (4-2-1, 0-2-1 in league), meanwhile, is winless in its last three games after starting the year 4-0. And Lightning coach David Castro was none too happy about the officiating on Saturday, feeling two late calls/non-calls made a big difference, and he let the officials know it after the game.
The first call that upset Castro came in the final 20 seconds of regulation, when Legacy’s Lauren Cook collided with BHS goalkeeper Katie Simpson-Johnson as both were going for a long centering pass in front of the Boulder goal. With the game tied at 1, the ball ended up in the net, but the officials called a foul on Cook, giving the Panthers a free kick. Castro said it was the third straight game in which Legacy has had a goal disallowed.
Then on the deciding play in overtime, Castro thought a foul should have been whistled on Boulder before Anderson’s through ball to Radzihovsky set up the winning goal.
“We worked hard enough to win and Boulder played really hard,” Castro said. “It was a good game. I just didn’t feel very comfortable with the way it was handled from the three in the middle (the officials). They call a goal back that would win it in regulation, then there’s a whole change of events by not calling a foul out in the open all by itself. It’s an ugly way to win. But that’s not any discredit to Boulder or their players because they continued playing.”
Legacy didn’t allow a goal in its first five games of the season, but after Fort Collins broke the ice on Thursday, BHS hit the net twice on Saturday in the makeup date for a game that was rescheduled from Tuesday.
After a scoreless first half, junior Adrienne Lowney hit the mark with 31:25 left in the game. From about 20 feet left of the goal, she put the ball just inside the right post to give Boulder the upper hand.
But only seven minutes later, Legacy sophomore Kelsey Killean knotted the score. From about 15 yards straight out, the ball went just under the crossbar and just over Simpson-Johnson’s reach.
And though Legacy kept the pressure on for most of the final 20 minutes of regulation, the Lightning couldn’t end it. But Radzihovsky did early in OT.
“This is our year,” she said. “We all know it. And since we don’t have any seniors we’re going to have the same (lineup) next year. It’s going to be even better. It just felt great to prove we’re going to get it done.”
Simpson-Johnson stood out for Boulder in goal, making six saves and punching balls away on several occasions in the goal mouth.
“I’d give her our game ball,” Grammer said. “I thought she kept us in the game.”
Boulder 2, Legacy 1
At Boulder H.S.
Legacy (4-2-1, 0-2-1) 0 1 0 — 1
Boulder (4-0-2, 3-0) 0 1 1 — 2
Goals (assists) — Legacy: Kelsey Killean (unassisted) 56th minute; Boulder: Adrienne Lowney (unassisted) 49th minute, Sarah Radzihovsky (Aimee Anderson), 81st minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Legacy: Aish Narang (81-2-5); Boulder: Katie Simpson-Johnson (81-1-6).