NIWOT — The score may have indicated only one team benefited from Friday’s regular season finale between the Niwot and Skyline girls soccer teams.
But both Rob Johnson and Luis Chavez, the schools’ respective head coaches, felt the contest worked in their favor in some way or another.
The 9-0 win for Niwot seemed to serve as both a tune-up and a confidence booster for the playoffs, getting back in the win column after close, competitive losses to Broomfield and Standley Lake. For Skyline, also bound for the postseason, the rather sound nonleague defeat is grounds for better practices and workouts over the next few days, knowing the Falcons’ season is far from over.
Seeding for the Class 4A playoffs happens on Sunday, and Niwot’s stock may be back on the rise after hanging up those kinds of numbers on the 8-4-3 Falcons. Seven different players scored for Niwot (12-3), including two each from Maria Fayeulle and Hannah Gray.
After losing out on the Northern League title and then suffering a shutout at the hands of Standley Lake, Niwot senior captain Katie Coody said her team needed to get back on track in their own minds.
“I definitely think our confidence going into those two games was low, and that we were a little shaky about playing those teams,” Coody said. “Coming out of them, though, I don’t think we were affected by the losses. I do know we wanted to get a win in before we began playoffs, especially with them being at the top of the Tri-Valley and us being at the top of the Northern. We wanted to prove the competition of the Northern and get us a good seed for the playoffs.”
It didn’t take hardly any time at all to do so. After 10 minutes in which Niwot was peppering Skyline goalkeeper Rebecca Kissinger, they finally broke through on a long, over-the-top goal from Lauren FitzGibbons. That opened the floodgates, with seven goals coming in the first half.
Almost every corner kick for Niwot yielded a good look on net, and touch passes were finely placed. That was the kind of stuff Johnson wanted to see.
“We’ve been talking about just getting back to what we were doing at the beginning of the season, and that’s causing problems up front,” Johnson said. “We did that. We got a couple early ones and (the scoring) got a little out of control. Our girls just keep believing they can play at this high kind of level, and as long as we believe that, we are going to go pretty far I think.”
Meanwhile, Coody and the rest of the team made it kind of a boring senior day for their keeper, Izzy Aguayo. She did not face a shot all game long.
“Yeah, it was probably pretty boring for Izzy, but it was fun for us on the field,” Coody added. “I think we’re looking pretty good for next week.”
Skyline, which secured second place in the Tri-Valley League, had to shift its lineup around a little bit, relying on Kaitlyn Sullivan to play in the back more than usual. The flow of offense disrupted for Chavez’s team, the Falcons were busy trying to shut down Niwot’s offense 90 percent of the time.
Kissinger finished with nine saves, many of them tough ones. Chavez acknowledged the challenge the Falcons faced Friday, and is confident his team will turn it into a positive when they next play.
“I was proud of the girls at least giving it a shot today,” Chavez said. “We let our guard down in the first half, but we came back better. It’s good that we took this test before playoffs, and I think we’ll learn a lot from this one. Our group of girls will take this and use this.”
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Niwot 9, Skyline 0
At Niwot HS
Skyline 0 0 — 0
Niwot 7 2 — 9
Goals (assists) — Niwot: Lauren FitzGibbons (unassisted), 13th minute; Niwot: Madison Barkow (FitzGibbons), 16th minute; Niwot: Maria Fayeulle (Barkow), 17th minute; Niwot: Courtney Kempf (penalty kick), 29th minute; Niwot: Hannah Gray (Madison Studebaker), 32nd minute; Niwot: Studebaker (Sarah Sypher), 34th minute; Niwot: Gray (Kailee Stobbe) 39th minute; Niwot: Fayeulle (Sypher), 65th minute; Niwot: Sydney Werbach (Fayeulle), 77th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Skyline: Rebecca Kissinger (65-8-9), Sariah Orocu (15-1-1); Niwot: Izzy Aguayo (80-0-0).