The Centaurus girls soccer team had hoped to catch a break when the Warriors began the second half of its Class 4A second-round state tournament match with the wind at their backs Saturday against Ponderosa.
That advantage never materialized, as the worsening conditions Saturday afternoon forced the scoreless draw to be suspended until Monday evening in much calmer conditions.
Forced to play with a lineup shuffled by injuries, Centaurus’ impressive run through the second half of the season ended when Ponderosa tallied the winning goal with about two and a half minutes remaining, dooming the Warriors to a 1-0 defeat at Sports Authority Field in Parker.
“The first half (Saturday) started out OK and the puddles were only on the sides,” Centaurus coach Mario Bezzina said. “But in the second half there were a lot of standing puddles in the middle of the field. It was the official’s decision. The second half we’d hoped to put them on the ropes, but I can’t complain. It was a fair decision.”
Centaurus opened the season 1-4 and sat at 2-5 after a loss to Silver Creek on March 31. But the Warriors finished strong, going 7-1-1 through a first-round win against Valor Christian before falling short against Ponderosa.
While standout underclassmen Moniphon Xiong, Olivia Fase, Roxana Vranian, and Laura Leibfried are slated to return, the Warriors must say goodbye to a talented senior class that includes Allison Ebersole (eight goals, three assists), Lauren Esler (seven goals, one assist), and Morgan Brendefur (four goals, four assists).
“I wasn’t too bothered by the start because when we hit league play we found our rhythm,” Bezzina said. “The girls shed their tears, but they were proud of themselves. If you can come out with your head held high, that’s all you can ask.”
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Ponderosa 1, Centaurus 0
At Sports Authority Field (Parker)
Centaurus (9-7-1) 0 0 — 0
Ponderosa (10-6-1) 0 1 — 1