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JEREMY PAPASSO
Fairview High School’s Nikola Machalek stops a pass in front of Cherry Creek’s Kelly Kammerer during the Class 5A State Championship on Wednesday at Dick’s Sporting Good Park in Commerce City. Fairview lost the game 1-0.

COMMERCE CITY — The Fairview girls soccer team lost 1-0 to Cherry Creek in the 5A state title game on Wednesday but the Knights seniors left Dick’s Sporting Goods Park as one of the most accomplished groups in recent history.

Over their prep careers, eight Knights veterans earned the opportunity to play in two state title games in three years. Winning the state title in 2010, the Knights’ runner-up finish in 2012 was, in some way, more special.

“The first time it was way different, we were expected to win,” Knights senior Olivia Fear said. “This time we came out to prove everyone wrong. Definitely, be a senior, this was a lot tougher. But the experience was still just as awesome.”

The Knights were seeded No. 2 overall in 2010 and went on to beat Arapahoe 2-0 in the title game. In that game, current senior goalkeeper Rachel DeCurnou watched from the sideline as a backup.

On Wednesday, DeCurnou made five saves in her long-awaited chance to start the biggest game.

“It was amazing. I loved it,” DeCurnou said. “Just playing was an incredible experience for me. It was great to be able to experience this twice. I think all the seniors are very lucky to get this opportunity.”

Much like the way their season began, the Knights suffered from a slow first half against the Bruins. But they rebounded much the way they did during the season.

“The first half, we did not play our game,” senior striker Nikola Machalek said. “In the second half we came out hard and we started passing around them. We thought we’d get one but unfortunately it didn’t swing our way.”

The Knights entered the state tournament seeded 15th and caught fire once they hit the state title bracket. They beat No. 2 Fossil Ridge in the Sweet 16, No. 10 Heritage in the quarterfinals and No. 6 Fort Collins in the semifinals.

Head coach Jeremy Pinard said the loss stings but the seniors — Fear, Machalek, DeCurnou, Berkley Gamble, Sarah Willette, Daphnee Morency, Meghan Higgins and Zoe Verhoeven — should have a hard time not being happy with what they did.

“They need to be proud of what they accomplished,” Pinard said. “They won one state title and they were runner up the next. You can’t complain. We’re all going out, I think, on top.”

 

NOTABLE: In Wednesday’s 5A championship match, 18 playaers from the FC Boulder club team were on the Fairview roster: Fear, Gamble, Machalek, Morency, Kenzie Whitcomb, Michelle Vonick, Savannah Beetcher, Lillian Bitner, Laura Nasky, Issi Stahl, Pyrenee Steiner, Gaelyn Crowder, Melissa Cuddington, Keenan Dowling, Sophie Fear, Hailey Nichols, Reci Smith and Lauren Wight. Cherry Creek’s Essence Ortiz-Lanier also plays for FC Boulder. … In the 3A title game between Peak to Peak and Colorado Academy, Pumas players Belle Morel and Sarah Shepherd represented the FC Boulder club.

 

Follow Brad on Twitter: @BradCochi