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Silver Creek's Maddie Bertrand is overcome with emotion following the Raptors' 2-1 loss against Discovery Canyon in the first round of the 4A playoffs.
Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
Silver Creek’s Maddie Bertrand is overcome with emotion following the Raptors’ 2-1 loss against Discovery Canyon in the first round of the 4A playoffs.

LONGMONT — If ever a league set a team up for success in the playoffs, it was the Class 4A Pikes Peak League in Colorado Springs.

Silver Creek coach Pat Monacelli and his girls were more than aware and were by no means taking their Class 4A first round opponents from Discovery Canyon lightly, despite their No. 22 seed and overall losing record.

“We took nothing about them for granted, and we knew,” said Monacelli after his 11th-seeded Raptors bowed out 2-1 to the Thunder on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. “For my money, two of the toughest 4A conferences in the state are that one down in the Springs and the 4A Northern.”

The battle-tested Thunder (8-8) controlled a majority of the possession in the first half, although much of it was in the midfield and a lot of the shots on target came via set pieces.

In a game in which calls were few and far between from a referee that let the two more than physical teams play their style, Discovery Canyon nearly capitalized on a direct free kick in the 28th minute. Jamie Kooser hit a ball from 30 yards out that forced Raptors freshman goalie Kaeyla Noble to make a diving stop to her left.

The next big chance for the Thunder, which outshot Silver Creek 4-0 in the first 40 minutes, was Jordan Alcon’s looping play on frame that Noble initially caught but had it slip, only to recover in time.

“We fully expected this to be a hard game. We saw what conference they were in, what teams they were playing, and their record may not have been good, but the caliber of teams they were playing were top eight teams,” Silver Creek senior Lauren Martin said. “”We expected to come out hard, I just don’t think we came out to get it done.”

Feeling the upset brewing, Discovery Canyon kept the pressure up in the second half and capitalized when the rains started to fall.

Defender Lauren Seely let fly on a shot from near the center circle that Noble had trouble getting a read on and ultimately had it bounce on the wet turf over her head and in.

It turned into a two-goal deficit in the 69th. Thunder sophomore forward Alexandra Palmer charged at the rebound of Jaime Keith’s shot off of Noble’s left post and buried it in the top of the goal.

“I feel like we really started to wake up after they scored the second goal,” Martin said.

That sense of urgency immediately kicked in and the Raptors made things interesting in the final 10 minutes. Martin, bound for St. Cloud State in the fall, scored the final goal of her prep career with a brilliant shot over the head of Thunder keeper Murphy Smalley.

Despite pushing numbers forward, Silver Creek just couldn’t generate any other clean looks against a stingy Discovery Canyon defense.

“It has really been a tough last two weeks for us and we really feel like we have been in the playoffs over that time,” Monacelli said. “After our stumble up at Thompson Valley, we really knew that coming down to the last three games of the conference season was do or die. There was no margin for error and we were able to do what we needed to do to win the conference.”

Discovery Canyon will travel to No. 6 seed Littleton in the second round on Saturday. The Lions cruised past Denver North.

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Discovery Canyon 2, Silver Creek 1

At Silver Creek HS

Discovery Canyon (8-8)



Silver Creek (9-6-1)



Goals (assists) —
Discovery Canyon: Lauren Seely (unassisted), 47th minute; Discovery Canyon: Alexandra Palmer (unassisted), 69th; Silver Creek: Lauren Martin (unasissted), 71st.

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) —
Discovery Canyon: Murphy Smalley (80-1-2); Silver Creek: Kaeyla Noble (80-2-5).