NIWOT — In a cross-town rivalry game at home, Niwot sophomore Hannah Driscoll found a creative way to help her team beat Longmont on Tuesday.
Guiding her team to a 3-0 Northern Conference victory, Driscoll scored on two long free kicks that more closely resembled Bubba Watson’s high-arching iron shots at Sunday’s Masters than David Beckham’s notorious set-piece magic.
“I just try my best to hit it every time and I know I have the best team running onto it,” said Driscoll, who scored from 35 and 50 yards out. “I’m just really happy that I got it to go in.
“All the players we have are just great so I trust them with all my heart and they usually put it in.”
Notching her first two goals of the season, Driscoll, who plays center back, needed no help from her teammates as they streaked toward the net.
Driscoll netted her first set-piece goal in the 37th minute on a centered free kick from about 15 yards outside the box. The shot was blocked by Trojans freshman goalkeeper Grace Hamm but the ball spun off and back into the goal.
Driscoll’s second free kick goal came in the 44th minute from just inside midfield on the left side, about 50 yards out from the net. No one got under the long ball, intended for sophomore forward Maria Fayeulle on a run, and it bounced once and over the keeper’s head, landing in the goal.
Cougars head coach Jeremy Drake said Driscoll’s surprising goals could have been perceived by some as soft, but that she deserves credit for her ability to consistently put the ball on frame from as far out as she was.
“Hannah gets it on goal. She gets it on frame every time,” Drake said. “That’s pretty much all it takes: If it’s on frame and there’s some confusion in front like we practice. It bounced our way today.”
Before Driscoll’s artillery shots, freshman Madison Studebaker put the Cougars (4-0-1, 2-0-0) on the board with a goal in the 18th minute. A throughball found Fayeulle’s feet with room to run. Hamm made a good save on Fayeulle’s shot, but Studebaker was there to clean up the deflection for her first-ever varsity goal.
“I feel like we played really well. It felt good to beat Longmont,” said Studebaker, who added that she was glad her first goal came in a conference rivalry game. “I’m really happy I’m on a team that’s working so well and we’ve been so successful so far this season.”
The win was the Cougars’ fourth straight since a 0-0 tie against Boulder to open the season. For the Trojans (3-4-1, 0-2-0), who have battled injuries in the past few weeks, it was their fourth straight loss.
Trojans head coach Allison Douthit said the Cougars did a good job of keeping her attackers away from the goal. The Trojans, she said, have been missing offense and leadership the past four games without injured senior forward Sarah Calhoun.
“We’re in a slump right now. We’re trying to dig ourselves out,” Douthit said. “I think they’re going to. We just have to reorganize everything that we went into the season thinking and change our whole outlook now with the players we have down.”
The Cougars will travel to play Air Academy (4-1-0, 1-0-0) on Thursday and the Trojans will host Palmer Ridge (6-0-0, 2-0-0) on Saturday.
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Niwot 3, Longmont 0
At Niwot H.S.
Longmont (3-4-1, 0-2-0) 0 0 — 0
Niwot (4-0-1, 2-0-0) 2 1 — 3
Goals (assists) — Longmont: None. Niwot: Madison Studebaker (Maria Fayulle), 18th minute; Hannah Driscoll (unassisted), 37th minute; Hannah Driscoll (unassisted), 44th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Longmont: Grace Hamm (55-3-4), Maria Romo (25-0-2). Niwot: Kim Schoep (80-0-4).
Shots — Longmont 6, Niwot 14.
Shots on goal — Longmont 3, Niwot 7.
Corner kicks — Longmont 1, Niwot 4.
Penalties — Longmont 4, Niwot 2.