BROOMFIELD — Shaylee Gailus stood with her teammates in a huddle, crutches under her arms, a brace around her ankle and tears in her eyes.
The Broomfield senior didn’t envision her high school soccer career would end on Friday night — and in such a disappointing way.
The Eagles, No. 1 in the Class 5A state tournament bracket, fell behind in the first half and never could get the big play to recover. So instead of advancing to the quarterfinals and marching to a second straight title game appearance, Broomfield is done after a 1-0 loss to Rock Canyon.
“It definitely hurt a lot to drop out this low in the bracket,” an emotional and hurting Gailus said after being eliminated by the 16th seed. “What we were able to accomplish this year after what we graduated last year, it’s just amazing what we were able to come out and do.”
Last year it was Rock Canyon walking off the field in defeat when the Eagles won their state semifinal match in Parker. Broomfield was hoping for more of a similar result but the Jaguars got a lead and kept it.
The final blow was Gailus going down and needing help to get back to the bench in the 71st minute.
“It serves as why it didn’t work out,” Eagles coach Jim Davidson said. “When a player works as hard as Shaylee — and no one works as hard as she does — when she goes down at the end of the game when you really need her on the field, it was indicative of the way the day went. We just never quite got a foothold in the game. We weren’t ever really good enough to get it today.”
Broomfield (15-2-0) had chances, but not enough clean ones to win. Junior Mallory Mooney had a great shot on a free kick that was saved in the 19th minute, and in the next minute Cate Sheahan dribbled down the left side and sent a low shot past goalkeeper Morgan Friday.
It was all the Jaguars (14-3-0) needed.
“At this level, if you make a lot of mistakes like we did today it’s going to be hard to advance,” Davidson said. “It was another mental error where we didn’t close her. She probably ran into 25, 30 yards of space with the ball. Nobody stepped to her.”
Instead Rock Canyon stopped the Eagles and sent them home short of their dream.
“I’ll take away from this season how much we put into each game, how much harder we had it and how much we came together,” Gailus said. “This game necessarily didn’t show that but each game in the season did.”
Rock Canyon 1, Broomfield 0
At Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium
Rock Canyon (14-3) 1 0 — 1
Broomfield (15-2) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) —Rock Canyon: Cate Sheahan (unassisted), 20th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Rock Canyon: Dani von Lembke (80-0-8); Broomfield: Morgan Friday (80-1-5).