BOULDER — For 40 minutes on a chilly Tuesday afternoon, things just didn’t look right for the Fairview Knights.
They were getting outworked. They were getting out-hustled and they were getting beat.
“They wanted it more,” Fairview coach Dan Niedringhaus said of their 1-3 opponents from Liberty. “We told them at the half, there are good teams and there are great teams, let’s see how you deal with a little adversity.”
The Knights answered the bell in the second half, especially senior Sophie Fear. She set up both Fairview goals in the second half and help the 10th-ranked Knights improve to 3-0 on the young season with a 2-1 win over the Lancers.
“We just came out kind of rough and that goal that they scored just kind of threw us off,” said Fear, a Western State commit. “We had our heads down simply because we were down and we just didn’t play well in the first half.”
Liberty was rewarded for its hard work just 10 minutes into the match. Fairview goalie Laura Hutchinson’s attempted clear from well outside of the comfort of her goal and near the edge of the 18-yard box hit the Lancers’ Brooke Shade. Shade settled and fired into the open net to break the ice.
The Knights had their chances to equalize before the halftime. Within a five-minute stretch, senior Reci Smith banged a shot off the bar and freshman sensation Skylar Andersen was turned away in spectacular fashion by Liberty goalie Ashley Beers.
It was a sign of things to come.
“They were outworking us,” Fear said. “And I wasn’t about to let that happen anymore.”
Ten minutes after the break, Fear came in and made a solid tackle and maintained possession with a run that took her into the box and down to the end line. A simple touch back to front of the goal and Tea Smith finished with ease.
“She’s our workhorse and nobody works harder than her,” Niedringhaus said. “Without her we would have still been 1-0 right now.”
With momentum clearly on their side, the Knights earned back-to-back corners in the 60th minute and after the first was turned away, Fear made sure they made the most of the second.
Her corner was spot-on the penalty spot, where Reci Smith went higher than anybody else and headed home the eventual game-winner.
“Getting outworked is an easy fix,” Fear said. “I want to be the hardest worker out there and I’m not going to let teams run over us.”
It was the first time that Niedringhaus’ team had trailed at any point this season and a little adversity early will only help his team.
“It showed what they were made of,” said Niedringhaus, whose team will be at Horizon on Thursday before taking the week off for spring break.
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Fairview 2, Liberty 1
At Fairview HS
Liberty (1-4) 1 0 — 1
Fairview (3-0) 0 2 — 2
Goals (assists) — Liberty: Brooke Shade (unassisted), 10th minute; Fairview Tea Smith (Sophie Fear), 50th; Fairview: Reci Smith (Fear), 60th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Liberty: Ashley Beers (80-2-2); Fairview: Laura Hutchinson (80-1-5).