COMMERCE CITY — In the end, 80 minutes of mostly even soccer came down to one harsh reality for the Fairview Knights.
Cherry Creek was able to take advantage of its one big break, while the Knights simply couldn’t buy a break.
Cherry Creek used a goal late in the first half to dash Fairview’s dreams of claiming a second Class 5A girls soccer state championship in three seasons, as the Bruins recorded a 1-0 victory Wednesday in a rain-soaked championship match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“We had opportunities, and we had good opportunities — especially in the first 5 to 10 minutes,” Fairview head coach Jeremy Pinard said. “It came down to that we had to finish our opportunities. You have to tip your hat to them. They had one, maybe two chances, and they finished one of them.
“Overall, we played a decent game. It comes down to finishing. That’s been our nemesis all year. When we don’t finish our opportunities early, we struggle. Tonight, it just caught up with us.”
Fairview brought a five-game shutout streak into the match but saw it come to an end during a frenetic scramble in the 34th minute.
After the Knights failed to clear a loose ball in the middle of the penalty box, Cherry Creek’s Zsuria Phare took advantage of the miscue, punching a shot past Fairview goalie Rachel DeCurnou to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead that they took into intermission.
“The ball just didn’t go our way,” senior defender Berkley Gamble said. “We had some opportunities I definitely thought were going in, but their goalie made some great saves. It was one of those nights for our team. It was chaos in there (on the goal) and it was a bad miss-clear that they were able to take advantage of.”
Fairview enjoyed ample opportunities to strike first or, later, produce an equalizer, much of it occurring on strong runs by senior forward Daphnee Morency. Morency worked free throughout the contest and produced several scoring chances during the first half.
The Knights (12-6-2) kept pressuring Cherry Creek goalie Alex Kahalley during the second half, but the junior netminder repeatedly came up with big saves. With each potential strike, it seemed the ball refused to bounce Fairview’s way.
Olivia Fear enjoyed an open look on a rebound shortly after halftime, but her shot deflected off a teammate. Gamble launched a high line drive in the 50th minute, only to be denied by Kahalley. And with the clock winding down in the final minutes, a chance by Nikola Machalek was thwarted on a diving save by Kahalley.
Fairview also enjoyed 11 corner kick chances but was unable to find the net.
“We were trying to play direct, and then we tried passing the ball through, and then we tried direct again, but nothing seemed to be working out for us,” Morency said. “We got a couple opportunities. We just weren’t able to finish any of them.”
Follow Pat Rooney on Twitter: @prooney07
Cherry Creek 1, Fairview 0
At Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Fairview (12-6-2) 0 0 — 0
Cherry Creek (15-4-1) 1 0 — 1
Goals (assists) — Cherry Creek: Zsuria Phare, 34th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fairview: DeCurnou (80-1-5); Cherry Creek: Kahalley (80-0-5).