PARKER — Ponderosa’s Jensen Ellis probably couldn’t have hand-placed her first goal much better as her feathery shot from left of the box cradled perfectly over Skyline keeper Kenna Meier and snuggled into the top right corner of the net.
“That was beautiful,” Meier admitted.
Ellis marveled in round one of the Class 4A postseason, scoring two highlight-reel goals as the 12th-seeded Mustangs upstaged No. 21 Skyline and a gutty performance from their senior keeper with a 2-0 win Wednesday evening at EchoPark Stadium.
The Falcons’ season was ended after they had put together a late push to get into the 32-team field. Winners of four of their last five games in the regular season, including dramatic wins over Mead and Arvada West in the final week, Skyline (9-7) climbed from outside the playoffs, to a bubble team, to comfortably in.
It stopped there.
“Certainly, the last couple games of the season we came together amazingly,” Skyline coach Luis Chavez said. “This game, we left it somewhere.”
Ponderosa (12-4) controlled pace most of the way in the first half, rarely letting the ball get past their side of midfield. The Mustangs opened the game firing on all cylinders — one chance after another, it found post, found crossbar, and found Meier, who turned away five shots on the night as she gracefully swept around the box in her final game of high school.
“She was being pounded left and right and it was hard to keep up,” Chavez said. “But for what she needed to keep out she did a good job and I’m proud of her.”
Ellis found the sweet spot in the 24th minute and added another in the 34th, as she danced around two defenders and stepped to the side of Meier before going low-right for her first multi-goal game in over a year.
Each of her scores received more than a few oohs and aahs from bleachers. Her coach, on the other hand, said it’s nothing new.
“If she gets an open shot, that first goal she had is normal for her,” Ponderosa coach Jim Engels said. “She can make those. It wasn’t a lucky shot.”
Possession evened in the second half, although Skyline still never found much rhythm on the offensive end. Sophomore Brooke Parkinson had a few chances in the final 10 minutes, and yet nothing materialized.
Ponderosa will face No. 5 Silver Creek in the second round and Skyline will look to the future as they lose nine seniors.
“I hope we left a good legacy,” senior Sabrina Bridwell said. “I’d like to say we were the class that started building up Skyline’s reputation for (girls’) soccer.”
PONDEROSA 2, SKYLINE 0
At EchoPark Stadium
Skyline (9-7) 0 0 — 0
Ponderosa (12-4) 2 0 — 2
Goals (assists) —Ponderosa: Jensen Ellis (Caitlyn Conard) 24th minute, Ellis (Kyla Thornhill) 34th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Skyline: Kenna Meier (80-2-5); Ponderosa: Morgan Palermo (80-0-6).