CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE — In some ways, Bri Wetmore’s final game was a microcosm of her Peak to Peak career.
Particularly when considering the emotional peaks and valleys
The four-year midfielder drilled a penalty kick with a little more than eight minutes to play Thursday in the Class 3A quarterfinals at Kent Denver, but it wasn’t enough to overthrow the host Sun Devils, who held on for 2-1 win that ended the Pumas’ season.
“You could definitely feel the energy after the goal,” Wetmore said. “Unfortunately it was a little too late. We didn’t have enough time to put something else in the back of the net, so that was unfortunate.”
Despite the loss, it was strong comeback season for the Pumas (10-6-1). After winning the 3A state title in 2012 and 2013, longtime coach Peter Chandler stepped down (he remains Peak to Peak’s athletic director). Last year was something of a rebuilding effort as longtime assistant Joe Swanson took over and the youthful Pumas went 3-11-1.
But they weren’t down for long, and they bounced back this spring to become of the stalwarts in the talent-rich Metro League.
“I felt defensively this year we had what it took,” Swanson said. “If you look at comparative scores around the Metro League — which got eight teams in which is pretty dang amazing — I feel our defense was playing as well as anybody around the league.”
Kent Denver (12-3-1) jumped ahead on a goal by Peyton Brophy midway through the first half and pushed the advantage 2-0 when Darcy Neureiter scored early in the second.
The Sun Devils continued to pepper Pumas keeper Sarah Shepherd (nine saves) with shots and Kent appeared in control. Then Wetmore’s PK got the Pumas right back into striking distance.
“I was excited,” Swanson said. “Momentum swing, they start to panic a little bit. But that final five, six, seven minutes, we didn’t play with as much urgency as I would have liked to have seen.
“We still had that problem today of sitting five yards off the player rather than stepping up and challenging the ball.”
Peak to Peak lost the league match against the Sun Devils 2-0 on April 21, and it was starting to look like a repeat of that one. Until Wetmore’s goal, the Pumas registered only three shots on frame, and none were particularly challenging for Kent Denver goalie Sydnee Naylor.
“I think we played a little better than last time,” Wetmore said. “There were some things that just didn’t go for us today. Our first touches were off, we couldn’t win balls out of the air and we didn’t have many opportunities up top.”
In addition to Wetmore, the Pumas will graduate Shepherd and defenders Micah Friesen, Grae Roda and Raquel Solis.
Wetmore was a key piece in the two titles, endured the down year of 2014 and then helped the Pumas back to relevance. It was an emotional gamut much like her final game.
“I don’t have any regrets,” she said. “I know last year wasn’t the way I hoped it to be, but considering we didn’t even make the playoffs and now we’re in the quarterfinals, I’m really proud of everyone.”
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Kent Denver 2, Peak to Peak 1
At Kent Denver HS
Peak to Peak (10-6-1) 0 1 — 1
Goals (assists) — Kent Denver: Peyton Brophy (Shelby Schumacher), 22nd minute; Kent Denver: Darcy Neureiter (Emma Domich), 45th; Peak to Peak: Bri Wetmore (PK), 72nd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Peak to Peak: Sydnee Naylor (80-1-3); Peak to Peak: Sarah Shepherd (80-2-9).