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MARK LEFFINGWELL
Holy Family’s Abby Metzger (left) and Peak to Peak’s Emily Gardener (right) race for the ball during their soccer game at Holy Family in Broomfield, Colorado April 23, 2012.

BROOMFIELD — Holy Family lived on the edge in tucking away its goals Monday night. But heroic strikes in each half were worth every ounce of the fourth-ranked Tigers effort.

Scores by Ashley Burk and Kelton Hipkins delivered Holy Family a 2-1 win over fifth-ranked Metro League rival Peak to Peak. But more importantly to the Tigers, the win in Mike G. Gabriel Stadium helped erase a bit of the sting from one of the team’s most painful losses.

Peak to Peak was the squad that ended Holy Family’s 2011 season in the Class 3A state semifinals.

“We were very hungry for this game,” Burk said. “We’ve been looking forward to this moment for months.”

The battle between the state finalist and semifinals played close for the entire 80 minutes, despite Holy Family (10-2, 6-1) gaining the early edge.

Peak to Peak (8-3, 4-2) only allowed three goals entering Monday’s game and its stinginess showed early on. The team thwarted Holy Family’s opening-half attack, only allowing two shots on frame in the first 40 minutes of play. But the second one was a doozie.

Burk’s goal came in the final minute of play in the first half with the senior striking home the opening goal dead-center net. But the score required nearly perfect timing off the set-piece play.

“Daryle (Mitzel) was hitting great balls from the corner kicks all evening,” Burk said. “Finally Maddi (Kuzik) laid on off perfectly with the keeper out of position, leaving me a wide-open goal six-yards away.”

Hipkins then netted what turned out to be the game-winner.

Holy Family midfielder Mitzel saved the ball from going out of bounds with a diving kick in the 65th minute. Her play turned into an assist when Hipkins receive the ball and placed a perfect chip shot just over the head of the keeper.

“(Kelton) has gotten to play much, but she knocked that one in,” Holy Family coach George Connolly said.

The play was a blow to Peak to Peak, which had been the much more aggressive side coming out of halftime. But the goal far from deflated the Pumas.

The team came charging back with its top scorer finding her touch in the final 10 minutes of play. Belle Morel netted Peak to Peak’s opening goal with six minutes left in the game, striking after Brianna Wetmore centered the ball.

Morel struck one more hard attempt, which ended up in the clutches of the Holy Family keeper. But with little time on the clock the Pumas had few opportunities of which to work.

“We were fired up, we did want to lose,” Morel said. “We couldn’t get that last one in though, we need a little more time.”

More than just an emotional boost, Monday’s win also keeps Holy Family’s hopes for a conference championship alive.

“If we can take care of Kent Saturday, which happens to be our prom, we are league champions,” Connolly said. “So tonight was huge for us.”

Holy Family 2, Peak to Peak 1

At Mike G. Gabriel Stadium

Peak to Peak (8-3, 4-2) 0 1 1

Holy Family (10-2, 6-1) 1 1 1

Goals (assists) Holy Family: Ashley Burk (Maddie Kuzik), 39th minute; Holy Family: Kelton Hipkins (Daryl Mitzel), 65th minute; Peak to Peak: Belle Morel (Brianna Wetmore), 74th minute.

Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) Peak to Peak: Sarah Martinez (80-2-2); Holy Family: Olivia Quinn (80-1-3).