MONUMENT — For 40 minutes Wednesday night Skyline High School played like one of the best girls soccer teams in the state as it kept No. 8-seeded Lewis-Palmer without a goal in a Class 4A first-round playoff game at Don Breese Stadium.
Then the second half arrived.
The Rangers (14-1-1) finally found the back of the net six minutes into the second half and the floodgates were open. By the time final horn sounded the Rangers added six more to score a convincing 7-0 victory over the No. 25 Falcons.
“I think we fell apart a little bit in the midfield and we just kept stabbing at the ball; I know I did that a few times,” said Skyline freshman midfielder Kalen Niedling. “Offensively, we didn’t mesh together well. We couldn’t transition once.”
Skyline (8-8) had just two shots on goal the entire game and none until the 58th minute.
“Our mental state is such that if we don’t keep our composure going against good teams we start losing a little bit of confidence and our frame of mind,” said Skyline coach Luis Chavez. “Lewis-Palmer scored one goal, two goals, three goals and all of the sudden we were out of it.
“That doesn’t reflect what kind of a game this was or what these girls are capable of doing.”
Chavez prepared his club well against Lewis-Palmer — whose only loss this season was to No. 2 The Classical Academy in the season opener — by marking the Rangers’ top scorers in sophomore Bri Alger (22 goals, 8 assists) and junior Sarah Lyons (13 goals, 4 assists).
Lewis-Palmer had eight shots on goal in the first half, but came up empty as Skyline junior goalkeeper Sariah Orocu made several diving saves behind her stellar defense. Alger, especially, was double and triple-teamed most of the first half.
Lewis-Palmer came out firing the second half as sophomore Karly Sandoval booted a shot past Orocu from 40 yards for the game’s first point. Orocu, who allowed just 24 goals in 14 games heading into the postseason, got her hands on the slippery ball, but it fell through her fingers and rolled into the net.
The Rangers added five more goals in the next 20 minutes to take command of the match. Seven different Lewis-Palmer players scored goals, including Alger (from 25 yards) and Lyons (a header).
Lewis-Palmer scored its final four goals against Skyline freshman goalkeeper Kenna Meier.
“We were marking (Alger) really good the first half,” Chavez said. “I think our girls were doing an awesome job. But once we lost our composure it was downhill from there.”
Skyline enjoyed another solid season, advancing to the playoffs for the second consecutive time and fourth in five years. But it was almost as if the Falcons were a Jekyll and Hyde of sorts.
They began the year by losing four of their first five games, then won five in a row, and lost four of five to end the season.
“I’m really excited for the next three years,” Niedling said. “We just have to pick it up and find ourselves next season.
“If we get more consistency we can be a better team next season.”
Chavez praised his team after the game.
“I’m very proud of these girls,” he said. “We just have to live and learn and be ready for next year.”
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Lewis-Palmer 7, Skyline 0
At Lewis Palmer HS
Skyline (8-8) 0 0 — 0
Lewis-Palmer (14-1-1) 7 0 — 7
Goals (assists) — Lewis-Palmer Karly Sandoval (unassisted) 46th minute; Bella Mantaro (Sammy Kazlausky) 48th minute; Sarah Lyons (Kirsten Hatton) 50th minute; Bri Alger (Bella Mantaro) 56th minute; Annica Fletemeyer (Kirsten Hatton) 61st minute; Danielle Hatton (Bri Alger) 65th minute; Tori Fugate (Danielle Hatton) 73rd minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Skyline: Sariah Orocu (55-3-7); Meiere (25-4-3); Lewis-Palmer: Arsenault (80-0-2).