NIWOT — The Niwot girls soccer team overcame a monumental challenge Saturday in scoring on a keeper who hadn’t allowed a goal in more than a month, Green Mountain senior Lindsey Hendon.
Perhaps it was too much to ask to score twice on the Iowa State signee.
In a contest that lasted more than 105 minutes of game time, Green Mountain came up with the golden goal in the second overtime, defeating Niwot 2-1 in the Cougars’ not-so-Sweet 16 of the 4A state playoffs.
Junior Snow Patchett took a pass from senior Christina Makatura, slipped behind the defender and bounced in the game-winner off the hands of Niwot senior keeper Izzy Aguayo in the 106th minute.
“Obviously it hurts as a senior,” said co-captain Katie Coody, who scored Niwot’s goal, her third of NHS’ two playoff games. “The end of the road is here. But I love these girls and they gave it up for us.”
Niwot, seeded fifth in the 4A bracket, finished the season 13-4. A year after missing the postseason for the first time in the last decade, the Cougars made it to the final 16.
Green Mountain (now 14-2-1) is seeded 12th this year, but has been a formidable program in the 4A ranks, having been the state runner-up two years ago and a semifinalist in 2011.
Against the odds, the Rams scored the game-winner on Saturday while playing into a stiff wind. Niwot had faced that same disadvantage in the first 15-minute overtime, and when the teams switched ends for the second OT, the Cougars thought they had the upper hand.
“I think we thought we were going to score,” first-year Niwot girls coach Rob Johnson said. “We had the better at the very end of the game (in regulation). We kept creating chances. But it’s the same old thing: We create all these chances and we didn’t put them in. That’s soccer. If you don’t convert your chances, then you don’t win. That’s a tough one.”
Green Mountain was more effective in overtime dealing with the wind, and it paid off with Patchett’s goal.
“I told them we’re going to have to keep the ball on the ground — which is typically what we do,” GM coach Ken Fehr said. “One good ball through and it worked.”
Said Johnson: “We didn’t get back. That’s how they score. They do a good job on counter. We were all thinking we were going to score, score, score. They win a ball, we didn’t go in hard for attack and all of a sudden they’re off to the races. It’s tough stuff.”
Aguayo, one of the main reasons Niwot posted nine shutouts this season, was formidable on Saturday, making 10 saves, several of the difficult variety. And she got a hand on both of Green Mountain’s goals.
After a throw-in in the 26th minute of a physical first half, NHS fouled a Green Mountain player in the box, and junior Mia Dobbin made the Cougars pay. On her penalty kick, Aguayo deflected the shot, but the ball still slipped past the goal line, giving GM a 1-0 edge. And on the game-winner, Aguayo was beaten near-post, but she almost kept the ball out of the net.
“It was a breakaway,” Aguayo said of the golden goal. “She got lucky. I did what I could. I saved it, then it bounced in. I couldn’t get there fast enough.
“It’s hard, but we played our hearts out. That’s what matters. We left it on the field. I couldn’t be any more proud of our team.”
Coody, who scored two goals in Niwot’s first-round playoff win over Pueblo South, notched the equalizer on Saturday. Northwestern-bound teammate Maria Fayeulle battled defenders for control of a cross and the ball deflected out to Coody, who booted it high into the left side of the net from about 20 yards in the second minute of the second half.
Before that, Hendon and Green Mountain had posted eight straight shutouts, winning those games by a combined 41-0. The last goal the Rams allowed was on April 8 against Golden. According to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Hendon owns the Colorado state record for shutouts in a career, with 41. She finished with 11 saves on Saturday.
“It felt really good” to score against Hendon and Green Mountain, Coody said. “Going into the game we knew they had that shutout streak going for them and that was the one thing we wanted to put to an end — and win the game, too. That was the most I could do to help with that. So that obviously felt good.”
Nevertheless, Green Mountain has knocked off two St. Vrain teams, Longmont and Niwot, so far in the playoffs to advance to a quarterfinal matchup with Valor Christian. The Rams are 10-0-1 in their last 11 games.
As for the Cougars, despite the loss they’re happy to have bounced back strong after going just 6-6-2 last season.
“It’s just a completely different Niwot soccer program and I’m glad we get to leave this legacy for these next girls to pick up and run with next year,” Coody said.
Green Mountain 2, Niwot 1
At Niwot H.S.
Green Mountain (14-2-1) 1 0 0 1 — 2
Niwot (13-4) 0 1 0 0 — 1
Goals (assists) — Green Mountain: Mia Dobbin (PK), 26th minute; Niwot: Katie Coody (Maria Fayeulle assist), 42nd minute; Green Mountain: Snow Patchett (Christina Makatura assist), 106th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Green Mountain: Lindsey Hendon (106-1-11); Niwot: Izzy Aguayo (106-2-10).