DENVER — Peak to Peak junior Belle Morel had never been so pleased to have a goal stolen from her. She’ll let teammate Ivy DeVries finish things off any time.
Locked in a showdown with Faith Christian in the Class 3A girls state semifinal soccer game on Saturday at All City Stadium, Morel stood at the far post and waited for Brynna Bostic’s perfectly placed corner kick to drop in.
Morel found space in front of the crowded net and sent a close-range header toward the goal. Her try looked to be on target, though it’s possible that Eagles goalkeeper Payton Scrivner may have had a play on the ball.
“Oh, it was going in. It was,” Morel said.
No matter. DeVries came flying in and applied a header of her own to remove any doubt.
Peak to Peak went up 2-1 in the 63rd minute of action, and that’s where the score would stay. Now the Pumas move on to the state championship game for the second consecutive season.
They will face Colorado Academy (11-2-2) for the title at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Peak to Peak (16-3) beat the Mustangs 4-3 late in the regular season.
Though Morel’s header probably would have done the trick, DeVries reacted instantly when she saw the free ball.
“I saw Belle head it, and then I went for it.” DeVries said. “It just happened. I don’t know how to describe it; it’s just instinct.”
The Pumas survived a final push by Faith Christian (15-2-1), but just barely.
First, mere minutes after Peak to Peak took the lead, Mustangs midfielder Suzi Kawakami delivered a roller on target inside the far post. But Pumas keeper Sarah Martinez stretched out for a diving save, reeling the ball in with her fingertips.
As the clock wore down, Caroline Jenkins booted a free kick that floated high and curved down, just catching the crossbar and bouncing away. Peak to Peak’s victory was secure.
“There was a lot of back-and-forth,” Faith Christian coach Amber Jenkins said. “It was a tough game, and we had our chances. We just couldn’t pull it off.”
Peak to Peak took the early lead after DeVries ripped a shot from 25 yards out that sliced over the outstretched arms of Scrivner to take a 1-0 lead in the 6th minute.
“We started playing better after that, but we lost our momentum a little bit,” DeVries said. “One goal is not that much of a lead.”
Faith Christian scored the equalizer shortly before halftime. Caroline Jenkins knocked in a free kick that hit the crossbar and bounced across the goalline by inches.
But the Pumas had the final say.
Peak to Peak coach Peter Chandler will return for the championship game after missing the past three games as attended the college graduations of his quintuplets. He will be greeted by a team already anxious to go after that title again.
“I’m nervous, but it’s a good nervous,” said Morel, who didn’t spend much time savoring the semifinal victory. “We’re ready.”
Peak to Peak 2, Faith Christian 1
At All City Stadium
Peak to Peak (16-3) 1 1 — 2
Faith Christian (15-2-1) 1 0 — 1
Goals (assists) — Peak to Peak: Belle Morel (unassisted), 6th minute; Ivy DeVries (Morel), 63rd; Faith Christian: Caroline Jenkins (unassisted), 33rd.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals Allowed-Saves) — Peak to Peak: Sarah Martinez (80-1-4); Faith Christian: Payton Scrivner (80-2-6).