BROOMFIELD — A penalty kick for Belle Morel is like a layup for LeBron James, an extra point for Mason Crosby.
A miss is possible, but very unlikely.
“I don’t think I’ve ever missed one in my career,” the Peak to Peak senior said. “I’ve missed some at practice but never in my career in a game.”
So, when Holy Family was whistled for a handball in the box against the visiting Pumas on Friday night, you knew what was coming. Morel drilled the PK and then scored a spectacular goal in the second half to lead the No. 2 Pumas to a 2-0 win in the regular-season finale.
The Pumas (11-2-2, 8-0-1) put the finishing touches on their Class 3A Metro League title, which was clinched entering the contest. Likewise, Holy Family (6-5-1, 5-3-1) was entrenched in fourth place and nabbed the league’s final guaranteed postseason berth.
Brackets will be released Sunday.
“I’ve got to believe we’ll be among the top two in the state, so it should be fun to host on our home field,” Pumas coach Peter Chandler said.
Peak to Peak led 1-0 at the half after Morel’s PK in the 15th minute. About five minutes into the second half, she one-upped her first goal. At midfield with her back to the net, Morel flicked the ball over her own head and toward the Holy Family goal.
She then beat three Holy Family defenders to the ball — effectively passing it to herself — and got to it before onrushing keeper Maggie Spitzer could play it. She emerged from the crowd of surrounding Tigers and pounded it into the net from near the top of the box.
“Honestly, that was kind of my idea,” Morel said when asked if she designed it that way. “I thought the goalie was going to come out and get it because it was a little too hard. But I had that much room to split in there, and I got a touch on it. Worked for me.”
Morel, who helped guide the Pumas to a 3A title last May, will play at Western State next season. The Mountaineers unearthed their women’s soccer program this year.
“It’s funny, because at halftime we’re saying ‘Belle, keep the ball on the ground. Don’t keep flipping it up,'” Chandler said. “So what does she do? She flips it up, then she wins it. It shuts us up on the sidelines.”
Peak to Peak also got solid play in the back end from defenders Ivy DeVries and Galen Roda and goalie Sarah Martinez. Chandler lauded DeVries’ versatility (she changed positions after Brynna Bostic was unable to play the second half due to injury), Roda’s prowess (he termed her as good a defender as Morel is a scorer) and Martinez’s commanding, authoritative presence in the net.
Holy Family was hit worse than most squads by the springtime weather, as the Tigers had three non-league games wiped out and played only a 12-game slate.
Despite the teams being locked into their spots in the league standings, the match featured the typical intensity between the rivals. In recent seasons, Holy Family had been winning the regular-season games and Peak to Peak the postseason matchups.
“As far as the rivalry goes, that’s never tamed down,” Holy Family senior captain Micaela Blanchard said. “You can see it all over the field. People were going at it hard, and the refs were saying ‘this isn’t playoffs.’ We were like, ‘we don’t care.'”
The Tigers managed nine shots on frame, including two blasts by Blanchard in the first half, but never got one past Martinez.
The weather, coupled with many Tigers arriving late to the season because they were busy helping win a state basketball championship, has prevented the Tigers from morphing into a consistent group.
“It hurt us a lot because we haven’t had a chance to get our mojo going,” Blanchard said.
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Peak to Peak 2, Holy Family 0
At Holy Family H.S.
Peak to Peak (11-2-2, 8-0-1) 1 1 — 2
Holy Family (6-5-1, 5-3-1) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Peak to Peak: Morel (PK), 15th minute; Peak to Peak: Morel, 45th.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Peak to Peak: Martinez (80-0-9), Holy Family: Spitzer (80-2-3).