NIWOT — Before it could try its luck at making a run in the state playoffs, the Centaurus girls soccer team was faced Tuesday night with 4A Northern League rival Niwot, which wanted nothing more than to jump the Warriors in the standings.
And though the Cougars made it closer than the Warriors would’ve liked, Centaurus held on for a 3-2 win at Niwot High School. Two goals by junior Shanlie Anderson helped tip the scales in the Warriors’ favor.
“We’re all so excited right now,” Anderson said. “We were pretty nervous about this game, but we thought that we had a good chance against Niwot and we played hard.”
Anderson and her fellow attackers led an aggressive offensive assault against Niwot’s defense, often forcing the Cougars to boot the ball out of bounds rather than risk giving the Warriors a good scoring chance.
The game was in a deadlock until the 15th minute, when Anderson floated a shot over the head of Niwot goalkeeper Kim Schoep for the first score of the contest.
That lead stood until the second half, when Cougars junior Kylie Fischer scored on a penalty kick to tie the game at one. With its lead gone, Centaurus turned up the offensive pressure once again and added two more goals, one by freshman Lauren Esler and another by Anderson, to give itself a 3-1 lead.
The Cougars rallied late and trimmed the deficit to one off a goal from freshman Shannon Fischer, but time was not on their side and the Warriors prevailed.
“Niwot is definitely a very worthy opponent,” Centaurus head coach Mario Bezzina said. “We wanted to move the ball well today because that’s when we’ve performed the best, and so we did that and just tried to wait for the right moments to attack their defense.”
Centaurus’ win along with Thompson Valley’s loss to Broomfield Tuesday night locked the already playoff bound Warriors into second place in the 4A Northern League standings. Now, with the regular season finally in the books, Centaurus can turn its attention to the postseason, and Anderson knows that the journey won’t be easy.
“We’re going to have to step it up,” Anderson said. “In practice we’re going to have to work really hard and all of us are going to have to give it 100 percent, but I think we’ll be okay.”
Brackets for the 4A girls state playoffs will be released Sunday, with the playoffs slated to begin next week.
Centaurus 3, Niwot 2
At Niwot H.S.
Centaurus (9-4-2, 5-1-1) 1 2 — 3
Niwot (7-5-2, 4-3) 0 2 — 2
Goals (assists) — Centaurus: Anderson (Unassisted), 15th minute; Esler (Unassisted), 63rd minute; Anderson (Dondelinger), 69th minute. Niwot: K. Fischer (Unassisted), 53rd minute; S. Fischer (Driscoll), 75th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Centaurus: Kelly Turcotte (80-2-5). Niwot: Kim Schoep (80-3-8).