BROOMFIELD — If it has been said once, it has been said a thousand times when it comes to weather and soccer. It is the great equalizer.
And on a cold, windy and wet May day in the playoffs, anything can happen.
So playing a smart, disciplined and possession oriented game is of the utmost importance especially against an upset-minded foe.
The 13th-seeded Holy Family Tigers did what they needed to do against a good George Washington team on Wednesday afternoon in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament. They scored early, put the Patriots behind the eight ball, and then limited their chances en route to a 3-1 victory.
“In the warmup we had to really make sure we were focusing on our touches, because when it is wet like this, the ball skips really easy,” senior Nicolette Sandoval said. “We were prepared.”
The Tigers advance to the second round and will either travel to Wheat Ridge, the 4 seed, or host 29-seed Discovery Canyon on Saturday.
The Tigers were the aggressors from the opening whistle. The created 1-on-1 chances with the keeper that were missed, but clearly set the tone for the match and the Patriots knew they were going to be on their heels.
After two quality looks that didn’t net any results, the Tigers were rewarded a direct free kick from distance and Sandoval delivered. Her strike beat GW goalie Ava Quinlan.
“We try to get them early and control the rest of the game,” Sandoval said.
The Tigers would have to wait until the second half to increase their lead, but in the 48th minute, Sandoval’s perfectly delivered corner was headed home by Kody Clements on the far post against a flat-footed Quinlan.
The final nail in the coffin came in the 63rd minute. After a big strike by sophomore Jaelen Giron was denied by Quinlan, Sandoval was right on the rebound and finished easily to put her team up 3-0.
GWHS’s Phoebe Garfield did get her team on the board in the 72nd minute, but it was too little, too late.
Now the Tigers have a chance to match their run of a year ago that took them to the quarterfinals, except this time the likelihood of doing it on the road is high.
But they still think they have some quality soccer in them.
“Especially since the weather was a factor here,” Sandoval said. “We’ve got more to bring.”
Holy Family 3, George Washington 1
At Holy Family HS
George Washington (11-4-1) 0 1 — 1
Holy Family (10-5) 1 2 — 3
Goals (assists) — Holy Family: Nicolette Sandoval (unassisted), 12th minute; Holy Family: Kody Clements (Sandoval), 48th; Holy Family: Sandoval (unassisted), 63rd; George Washington: Phoebe Garfield (unassisted), 72nd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — George Washington: Ava Quinlan (80-3-6); Holy Family: Sally Napierkowski (80-1-2).