NIWOT — In about a week, Lauren FitzGibbons and the rest of the Niwot girls soccer team may be in position to be rooting for Longmont to pull off an upset.
On Tuesday, however, the Cougars weren’t out to make friends with the Trojans. After all, there’s a Northern League title up for grabs.
For all intents and purposes, that league title will be decided Thursday in a showdown with Broomfield, a game set up with Niwot’s second-half surge on its way to a 5-0 win over the Trojans at the NHS soccer field.
While it was pretty tight throughout the first half, FitzGibbons had a goal and an assist within the first 5 minutes of the second stanza, and the offense only got more creative from there.
By the time 80 minutes had rolled off the clock, Niwot finally felt ready to face the Eagles with so much on the line.
“Broomfield is just kind of doing what they always do, and we have to come in to that game not afraid, with confidence, and I think this (game) has given these girls confidence,” said coach Rob Johnson, whose team will enter its final Northern League game with a 6-0 league mark. “In some ways, we might not have come out strong because some girls were thinking about Thursday … once we calmed down everything took care of itself.”
“I think we came out strong in the second half, thank goodness because technically we were not there in the first,” said FitzGibbons, who set up Charlie Miller with a corner kick in the 43rd minute to set her team on the right track. “This was a big game, and we wanted to focus on this one before we got excited for Broomfield. We’re confident, but not cocky because we know they are great competition.”
Despite the end result, Longmont proved to be the kind of competitive team the Cougars needed, getting plenty of good looks in the offensive third. In fact, after Katy Coody gave NHS a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute on a free kick, the Trojans formulated several great scoring chances to put some pressure on Niwot goalie Izzie Aguayo.
Aguayo’s stop on Carley Garcia in the 38th minute was key in keeping the Trojans out of the net, and a couple of other saves fed into Niwot’s desire to expand on its lead.
They did quickly after the teams reconvened on the pitch. FitzGibbons put a picture-perfect cross that seemed all too easy for Miller to head home, and just 2 minutes later FitzGibbons and Maria Fayeulle played a give-and-go for a 3-0 lead. Madi Studebaker and Sydney Werbach added scores in the rout.
“Izzie played like a beast, just a huge part of our defense in this one and she’s proven she’s one of the best in the league,” FitzGibbons said. “She saved our butts, and then we got the confidence we needed to take care of the offense.”
“We just stopped and got caught watching (the corner kick),” said Longmont coach Mike DiGiallonardo, whose team (8-4-1, 3-2-1) will play Broomfield on April 29 to close out its league schedule. “We may have taken for granted the fact that we were playing well and in the game into the second half. The light switch turned off a bit, and I don’t know why. We’ll keep pushing and try and make a run toward the playoffs.”
Aguayo finished with 10 saves for Niwot, while Longmont’s Maria Romo had eight saves before having to leave the game.
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Niwot 5, Longmont 0
At Niwot HS
Longmont 0 0 — 0
Niwot 1 4 — 5
Goals (assists) — Niwot: Katy Coody (unassisted), 7th minute; Niwot: Charlie Miller (Lauren FitzGibbons), 43rd; Niwot: FitzGibbons (Maria Fayeulle), 45th; Niwot: Madi Studebaker (unassisted), 55th; Niwot: Sydney Werbach (Maeve McCarthy), 77th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Longmont: Maria Romo (55-4-8), Kaylah Waddle (25-1-2); Niwot: Izzie Aguayo (80-0-10).