BOULDER — The challenge to be a little more dynamic was evident for the Boulder girls soccer team on Tuesday night. And, offensively speaking, the Panthers might have had one of their best games of the season as they took on Front Range League foe Fossil Ridge at Recht Field.
Ryan Henkel can only hope his team is rewarded a little farther down the road. Despite numerous chances with varied looks across the front lines against the SaberCats, Boulder could not get a ball across the goal line, falling 2-0 and dipping to 3-3-1 on the season.
As the schedule picks up for the remaining three weeks of the season — Boulder has eight games between now and May 2 — the Panthers hope to get in a rhythm moving forward. At the very least, they seemed to have a beat to their step Tuesday.
“We’ve talked about how our runs were getting predictable and easy to defend, and we really spent the last three training sessions working on dynamic runs,” Henkel said, his squad 2-2-1 in league play. “I think you saw that happening tonight. I was very pleased with our attack. Now it’s doing the little things right in front of goal.”
The Panthers had ample opportunities throughout the night against Fossil, ranked fourth in the latest CHSAANow.com poll for Class 5A. After the SaberCats gained a shot in the first minute of play, the scoring chances favored Boulder for most of the next 25 minutes.
In the eighth minute, Sarah Radzihovsky curled a shot toward the far post that had Fossil keeper Diana Meredith diving to save, and Laura Greer had a cross in the 21st minute that narrowly missed the foot of Chantal DeRoos in the center of the box. All the way to the end, those chances were earned.
“We were able to keep the ball a lot against a very skilled team, and I think we had some great crosses into the box,” said senior defender Mariah Alexander. “We just need to work on that final touch that finishes. I’m proud of our possession game, though.”
Despite not having any advantage through the first part of the game, Fossil Ridge (6-0-2, 4-0-1) made good on two close-in chances thanks to Isabella Anders, who scored consecutively in the 29th and 31st minutes. Her first shot came from inside the 18-yard line, a high kick that was out of reach for Madi Mayfield.
The quick hits put Boulder against the ropes, but the Panthers responded immediately with perhaps their best chance to score. It came with 8:35 showing on the first-half clock, when Anna Boylan’s shot was blocked by a FRHS defender right at the line after Meredith had gotten caught up elsewhere.
“It was hard to have that breakdown for that little bit of time … but I think we came back quick and confident,” Alexander said. “We still played calm instead of trying to change what we were doing.”
Boulder is right back in league play Thursday against Rocky Mountain, then Saturday against Fort Collins. Of their eight remaining contests, six are FRL games.
“This season is just beginning for us,” Henkel said. “I can tell you Thursday, this team is going to show up and play hard again, and then Saturday and the next time after that. Hopefully at some point we put that piece in front of the goal.”
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Fossil Ridge 2, Boulder 0
At Boulder HS
Fossil Ridge 2 0 — 2
Boulder 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Fossil Ridge: Isabella Anders (Kaylee Brown assist), 29th minute; Fossil Ridge: Anders (Bella Alessi), 31st minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fossil Ridge: Diana Meredith (80-0-8); Boulder: Madi Mayfield (80-2-10).