Girls soccer: Peak to Peak tops Manitou Springs in 3A quarterfinals

JEREMY PAPASSO
Peak to Peak forward Belle Morel battles Manitou Springs’ Gabby Santos for a loose ball. Morel scored both goals in the Pumas’ 2-0 win.

LAFAYETTE — With Belle Morel comes a variety of prominent traits. Gifted scoring ability is what stands out most, but fiery demeanor might be next in line.

Both were on display Wednesday night, when the all-state forward scored both goals in Peak to Peak’s 2-0 home win against No. 10 Manitou Springs in the Class 3A quarterfinals.

Now, this isn’t to say Morel’s ferocity is out of line. Let’s just say it’s a good thing she chose soccer and not, say, tennis or golf. After scoring the first goal, which came after a scrum in front of the Manitou Springs net with 1 minute, 52 seconds before the half, Morel also was issued a yellow card.

“I was going to grab the ball and number 22 (Gabby Santos) got kind of frustrated with me and starting getting up in my face,” Morel explained. “I turned my back on her and kind of shoved her away, like ‘What are you doing?’ and I got a card.”

Under a backdrop of lambent clouds and steady precipitation, Peak to Peak advanced to Saturday’s semifinals, where the No. 2 Pumas will oppose familiar adversary Kent Denver (12:30 p.m., All City Stadium). The Metro League foes tied 1-1 during the regular season.

Morel’s description of the opening goal, which was tough to sort out with the naked eye, was equally compelling.

“I saw Jordan (Harjes) kick it, and then it was just a big clump of girls just sitting there,” Morel said. “The goalie couldn’t see it, so I just went up and smacked it as hard as I could, and it popped up and hit the top of the netting.”

Morel added her second goal of the night — it was her 36th of the season — early in the second half, when she headed in a perfectly placed corner kick by junior midfielder Madison Corona.

“It’s just the idea of, place it in the 6 and watch Belle get her head on it,” Corona said. “That’s what she does best, so it went pretty routinely for us.”

The Pumas (14-2-2) also seem to be making a routine thing of advancing to the title game. If they defeat Kent, it will mark the third straight season Peak to Peak would be making a trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

After a 3-1 win Saturday against Roaring Fork in the round of 16, Pumas coach Peter Chandler voiced some concern about the togetherness of his team. That trepidation was largely eased after a solid team win on a soggy pitch.

“Absolutely, I’d say that the cohesiveness and the unity of the team was very positive,” Chandler said. “I’m very pleased with the performance of the kids. They’ve starting to shine in a game that was very tough for them. Now, it’s only going to get tougher.”

The Pumas needed a goal in the waning moments of regulation to force overtime with Kent in the regular season. The contest ended 1-1 and kept the Pumas unbeaten in league play, allowing them to eventually win the league with a 7-0-1 mark.

“I think it’s actually exciting, because Kent was such a close game,” Corona said. “It makes us strive to beat a team that’s really good, which would make us earn our way back. It’s a big desire to get back to where we were last year. We want to feel that win again.”

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Peak to Peak 2, Manitou Springs 0

At Peak to Peak H.S.

Manitou Springs (12-5-0) 0 0 — 0

Peak to Peak (14-2-2) 1 1 — 2

Goals (assists) — Peak to Peak: Morel (Harjes), 39th minute; Peak to Peak: Morel (Corona), 46th.

Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Manitou Springs: Buchanan (80-2-9); Peak to Peak: Martinez (80-0-3).