FORT COLLINS — Senior defensive captain Michelle Vonick has been a part of four impressive playoff runs in her time with the Farview girls soccer team.
On Wednesday, the Knights’ latest playoff run came to an end with a 2-1 double-overtime loss to Fossil Ridge in the 5A state quarterfinals.
“I’m really proud of these girls for coming this far,” Vonick said. “I think since I’ve been here, we’ve always made it to at least the quarterfinals, which is really impressive. We’ve worked out butts off this season and it showed on the field.”
The fifth-seeded Knights’ final game in 2013 ended with a sudden-death goal from the fourth-seeded SaberCats’ forward Haley Murphy. It began as quickly as it ended, with SaberCats forward Kalee Willer scoring 27 seconds after the opening kickoff.
Vonick moved forward and scored in the 37th minute to tie the game 1-1. She said the Knights got caught sitting back on their heels in the first minute of the game.
“We thought the game was just going to come to us but we had to come out with more pressure,” Vonick said. “We didn’t do that. After they scored, I think that gave us momentum but we should have had that momentum from the start.”
The Knights all felt they played better in the first half than in the second, during which the SaberCats went on the attack.
Knights freshman goalkeeper Avery Tallman certainly did her part in giving her team a chance to win. Tallman made 10 saves and broke up half a dozen SaberCats opportunities while taking some bruising hits, including a kick to the back that resulted in SaberCats forward Izzy Sanders receiving a yellow card.
“In the second half, I was really confident that we were going to win,” Tallman said. “When they had all those chances, every time I stopped one I got more confident.”
An offsides call negated a SaberCats goal in the 44th minute.
Front Range League rivals, the SaberCats beat the Knights 2-1 at Fairview during the regular season on April 29. The Knights upset the SaberCats 1-0 in the Sweet 16 last season.
First-year head coach Dan Niedringhaus said the ongoing rivalry between the Knights and SaberCats speaks to the high level of play in the Front Range League.
“It’s a great rivalry and they’re a well-coached team,” Niedringhaus said. “They beat us earlier in the year by the same score and they came out on top today. I’m so proud of these girls and I’ll always remember this team. This is my first head coaching job with the girls and it’ll always be special to me.”
The Knights were 5A state runners-up last season, reached the quarterfinals in 2011 and won the state title in 2010.
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Fossil Ridge 2, Fairview 1
At Fossil Ridge H.S.
Fairview (13-4-1) 1 0 0 0 — 1
Fossil Ridge (14-2-2) 1 0 0 1 — 2
Goals (assists) — Fairview: Michelle Vonick, 37th minute. Fossil Ridge: Koree Willer, 1st minute; Haley Murphy, 96th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fairview: Avery Tallman (96-2-10). Fossil Ridge: Amy Ramras (96-1-8).