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  • Boulder's Morgan Stone fights through a pair of Legacy defenders...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Boulder's Morgan Stone fights through a pair of Legacy defenders during Thursday's game at Recht Field. Go to for more photos.

  • Boulder's Alia Mentzell, center, is swarmed by teammates after scoring...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Boulder's Alia Mentzell, center, is swarmed by teammates after scoring a goal against Legacy Thursday at Recht Field. Go to for more photos.

  • Legacy's Gracie Armstrong moves the ball upfield during Thursday's game...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Legacy's Gracie Armstrong moves the ball upfield during Thursday's game with Legacy at Recht Field. Go to for more photos.

  • Legacy's Nora Spuler stops a ball in front of Hannah...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Legacy's Nora Spuler stops a ball in front of Hannah Dudiak during a game against Boulder on Thursday at Recht Field in Boulder. Go to for more photos.



BOULDER — The fact the Boulder girls soccer team had not scored a goal in the past three meetings against Front Range League rival Legacy probably speaks more to the dominance of the Lightning than any inadequacies from a good Panthers program since 2015.

But on Thursday night at Recht Field, that lengthy scoreless streak in the rivalry came to an end for the Panthers, and it was emphatic, at that. On a windy night at the pitch that clearly played a role in the game, goals in each half from Alia Mentzell and Hayden Hotchkiss paved the way for a 2-1 win over the Lightning and swapping of spots within the standings to boot.

Both teams are now 7-2, but the Panthers improved to 5-1 in the ever-competitive FRL.

“It’s always been a hard thing, and it’s always on our minds when we’ve played them, so winning this game was just huge for us for playoffs and everything else,” Hotchkiss said after the win, which ended a three-game skid against LHS and also gave the Panthers (No. 24 in the Class 5A RPI) a guaranteed boost considering Legacy’s No. 15 RPI. “The number one thing we talked about before this game was patience, because we didn’t want to go in too hard, too fast or lose the ball too high up the field.”

“We also got a little lucky with the wind and choosing sides to play, because it definitely helped in the second half.”

Indeed, the wind was more than just a nuisance on Thursday night as it blew stiff straight toward Recht’s east goal. For Boulder, that meant hunkering down against the Lightning — particularly in keeping star Gracie Armstrong from getting a run or giving one to a teammate — in the first 40 minutes.

Legacy gained the first early chances but didn’t register anything on goal officially (the Lightning did have a shot ring off the cross bar), while Boulder still worked for chances on the wings and were effective in changing the field.

Despite the weather, Boulder found itself deep in their scoring area in the 27th minute and took advantage. Hotchkiss found an opportunity to pass inside to Mentzell off the goal line, and a shot that had a bit of quirkiness to it skipped underneath outstretched Legacy goalie Makenna Gottschalk for a 1-0 lead.

In the 34th minute, a long clearing pass from Legacy got Armstrong on a breakaway almost from midfield, but the senior could not cut in toward the goal and settled for a shot easily read by Boulder goalie Elise Thomason-Larrsen.

Legacy found it even tougher to break past midfield in the second half, and Boulder had two chances in the first 10 minutes that resulted in wind-boosted rockets. The Panthers’ third chance went from Mentzell to Hotchkiss into a open net for a 2-0 lead with 25 minutes to play, and they would need that second tally as Armstrong found paydirt in the 67th minute off a forward pass from Jackie Coffman.

The Panthers settled back down, however, nearly adding a third goal when Sarah Maruyama free kick from about 30 yards curved into the far post with about 3 minutes to go.

Defensively, neither Hotchkiss nor Boulder head coach Carlos Real could have asked for much more.

“Our defense doesn’t get enough recognition, but they were pressing so hard tonight and I’m proud of them,” Hotchkiss said. “Our goal was to force their mistakes, and make sure that we put on enough pressure but still were patient.”

“We practiced over the top on closing down the lanes, and whether there was wind tonight or not, we kind of invited (Legacy) to go over the top,” Real added. “The girls were just incredibly disciplined and fought extremely hard. (Defending Armstrong) was central to the game plan, as well, just not allow the space that she usually likes. She still scored a wonderful, beautiful goal, but we tried to keep her in check.”

Legacy travels to play Fort Collins on Saturday, while Boulder will head to Rocky Mountain on Tuesday.

Adam Dunivan: or

Boulder 2, Legacy 1

At Recht Field

Legacy (7-2, 4-2)01—1

Boulder (7-2, 5-1)11—2

Goals (assists) — Boulder: Alia Mentzell (Hayden Hotchkiss assist), 28th minute; Boulder: Hotchkiss (Mentzell), 55th; Legacy: Gracie Armstrong (Jackie Coffman), 67th.

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Legacy: Makenna Gottschalk (80-2-4); Boulder: Elise Thomason-Larssen (80-1-3).

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