NIWOT — Niwot senior Jared Osteen curled a fabulous free kick that clanked off the bottom of the crossbar and bounced straight down in overtime. Junior Aidan Martin’s rebound header then squeaked a few inches over the net.
The opportunities for a winner seemed to wage like rushing waters late in the second half and into both overtimes for the Cougars Thursday evening.
In the end, though, it was another tough-to-swallow result against the team that ended their 2018 season.
“This has been kind of our early-season struggle, just finishing our opportunities,” said Niwot coach Stephen Dimit, whose team fell to Skyview 2-1 after a 95th minute winner by Branndon Casillas. “It was sitting there a number of times for us. We just got to put those things away. We worked hard enough for it, but ultimately it comes down to the goals you score.”
Yet again weather played a role as Niwot and Skyview met for the first time since the Wolverines eliminated the Cougars from the second round of the 4A state playoffs in Thornton.
Flashes of lightning sent fans and players for cover as part of a 70-minute delay. During their last meeting — a bitterly cold and wet Halloween eve night — the 18th-seeded Cougars scored twice in the opening 18 minutes before the No. 2 seed rallied for a 3-2 victory.
Dimit told BoCoPreps on a preseason questionnaire that the devastating defeat fueled his team to improve over the offseason. And if Thursday’s result showed anything, in a game the Cougars largely controlled, it’s all about how you finish.
We really wanted to win, but we have to move on from it,” Osteen said. “We didn’t quite play the way we wanted to play. And if a couple more bounces go our way, I think we should win that game.”
Skyview (3-0) came into the week ranked fifth in the CHSAANow.com polls, while Niwot (1-2) received two votes and was outside the top 10.
Yet after the teams traded goals early in the second half, the chances and game flow certainly leaned heavy in the Cougars’ favor.
Keegan Stobbe and Ismael Dominguez, who connected for the goal earlier in 45th minute, along with fellow-forward Martin, led the downhill attack much of the way. And perhaps their best opportunity late in regulation came when Jake Elston appeared to send a long ball to Ethan Hansen, who just missed his breakaway chance over the net.
“You saw what they’re capable of on that goal and a couple of those missed opportunities,” Dimit said. “They’re capable of breaking it open, but it’s the consistency that we’ve struggled with.”
Skyview nearly stole the game in the final minute of regulation when Roger Ibarra saw his chance skip just wide of the net. And then again early into the second overtime when keeper Javier Amaya made two consecutive diving saves to preserve the lead.
Then, more than three hours after the game was scheduled to start, Casillas found a crease for the winner.
Niwot will look to get back on track and snap a two-game losing streak against Skyline Tuesday.