BROOMFIELD — Neither team wanted the uncertain prospect of penalty kicks to decide its season. That’s why the Holy Family and Kent Denver girls soccer teams battled so valiantly through both overtime periods.
But with the scoreboard still showing 1-1 after 110 minutes of the Class 3A quarterfinal at Broomfield Commons, the alternate criteria of a shootout came into play. It took a total of seven shooters per side to decide, but 13th-seeded Kent Denver used a PK rocket from Natalie Ricci to move on and eliminate the No. 5 Tigers.
“I felt like there were many things we could have done earlier in the game to get the result we wanted,” said Holy Family junior midfielder Hannah Disberger, one of the Tigers captains. “It was disappointing for everyone, but when it comes down to it, someone has to win and someone has to lose.”
While Kent Denver (11-5-1) moves on to face The Classical Academy in the semifinals, Holy Family ends its season 12-4-2 after a heartbreaker.
“Overall, it was great to see the strides all the girls on the team made,” Disberger said. “Our last few games were so good. It was a good building experience and the team was as close as we’ve ever been.”
The Tigers got a standout performance from sophomore forward Valeria Patino, who put Holy Family ahead 1-0 with a first-half goal. Considering the Tigers had registered five straight shutouts, some wondered whether the goal would stand up as the winner. But Kent Denver’s Sage DiGuilio equalized things with a tally six minutes into the second half.
Holy Family coach George Connelly knows there has to be a way to decide such equally matched games. “But it shouldn’t be PKs,” he said.
The first four shooters from each squad converted, then Holy Family’s Morgan Gray missed wide right. Facing an all-or-nothing stop, Tigers keeper Maggie Spitzer saved a shot from Darcy Neureiter to keep Holy Family afloat.
After the teams traded makes, Kent Denver goalie Morgan McGonagle stymied Taylor Johnson’s shot. Then Kent’s Ricci buried hers to spur the Sun Devils’ celebration.
Connelly, whose team beat Kent Denver 1-0 in double OT during the regular season on a goal by Gray, believes the Tigers had chances in regulation.
“I thought the field was tilted our way on offense a lot,” Connelly said. “We just didn’t finish when we had the opportunities and we didn’t get the calls I think we should have gotten. But that’s just the way it goes and it’s part of soccer.”
The highlight for the Tigers was Patino’s goal. After taking a feed a long feed from Gray, an unmarked Patino got off a shot just as McGonagle arrived and tried to smother the ball.
After the ensuing collision, Patino was helped off the field. She came back and got banged up some more. In double OT, she had a similar chance on McGonagle, but the goalie got to her in time (Connelly argued that she might have been tackled in the box). Patino left for good after being helped off later in the second overtime.
She didn’t participate in the shootout.
“She got hammered all game,” Connelly said.
Holy Family had only two seniors on the roster in Kelton Hipkins and Kendall Russell, so the Tigers have realistic ambitions of a deep run next season.
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Kent Denver 1 (6), Holy Family 1 (5)
At Broomfield Commons
Kent Denver (11-5-1) 0 1 0 0 — 1 (6)
Holy Family (12-4-2) 1 0 0 0 — 1 (5)
Goals (assists) — Holy Family: Valeria Patino (Morgan Gray), 25th minutes; Kent Denver: Sage Diguilio, 46th.
Shootout — Holy Family: Clements (G), Hipkins (G), Russell (G), McGillen (G), Gray (NG), Schaffer (G), Johnson (NG); Kent Denver: Ricciardelli (G), DiGuilio (G), Billings (G), Schumacher (G), Neureiter (NG), Kearney (G), Ricci (G).
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Kent Denver: McGonagle (110-1-5); Holy Family: Spitzer: (110-1-6).