Girls soccer: Holy Family GK Napierkowski returns from injury scare, helps Tigers blank Erie

BROOMFIELD — Holy Family keeper Sally Napierkowski returned to the box at the start of the second half after a worrisome-looking collision forced her to the sideline in the waning minutes before the break.

She felt fine. Played great.

“I had a headache the whole time,” she said Monday. “But it wasn’t bad.”

In front of her, Holy Family controlled play in a 2-0 home win over Erie for its fifth win in six games.

In a game that saw keepers and field players collide on both ends, Napierkowski hit the ground in pain after an accidental run-in in the box with 4:44 remaining in the half. Things could’ve been worse as it appeared the side of Napierkowski’s head came into contact with the opposing player’s knee. But Holy Family’s training staff cleared her and Napierkowski came back to record six saves in the team’s fifth shutout this season.

“She got her bell rung a little bit, they got her checked out and she went back in and didn’t miss a beat,” Holy Family coach Michelle Griego-Giron said. “That’s definitely what you need from your keeper and I think that definitely gave the girls a boost as well.”

Nicolette Sandoval scored in the 26th minute and Lauren Clingman added another in the 60th to lead a meticulous offensive attack for Griego-Giron’s club.

Sandoval couldn’t have come any closer when her streaking chance rung on the inside of the crossbar and fluttered near the goal line in the 23rd minute, but she quickly pushed her disbelief aside. Minutes later, Jaelen Giron crossed a nice ball over to Sandoval, who took one touch before squaring the net.

“I was really mad about that one,” Sandoval said of her near miss. “But I just know that’s not the end of the game. I had the rest of the game left.”

Monday’s result adds to a fine mess in the current 5A/4A Tri-Valley League standings. Holy Family (6-2, 3-1) remained one loss behind Windsor and Mead, which kept their perfect league records intact with wins elsewhere Monday. Erie (8-3, 3-2) will fall a bit in the standings with a second loss.

“I think we’ve progressed a lot since the first game and spring break,” Sandoval said. “It still doesn’t feel like there’s playoffs in two weeks, but I think we’re in a really good place right now.”

Erie’s perfect road record came to an end in its third defeat of the season. The road Tigers had won their first four games away from home — at Thomas Jefferson, Niwot, Loveland and Elizabeth— but couldn’t find the back of the net for the second time in three games.

In the 64th, Alison McNeal lifted a nice chance at net on a free kick from just outside the box that was corralled by Napierkowski. Earlier, Lucy Weber had a breakaway chance that forced Napierkowski up but missed just wide.

On Wednesday, Erie hosts Fort Morgan and Holy Family is at Roosevelt.

Brent W. New: and @brentwnew

Holy Family 2, Erie 0

At Mike G. Gabriel Stadium

Erie (8-3, 3-2)                      0 0  — 0

Holy Family (6-2, 3-1)        1 1  — 2

Goals (assists) —Holy Family: Sandoval (Giron) 26th minute, Clingman (Whitlock) 60th.

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Erie: Hatch (80-2-8); Holy Family: Napierkowski (76-0-6), Lucero (4-0-0).