Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer
COLORADO SPRINGS — The anguish of a missed season due to the pandemic has faded in time with girls soccer.
Meanwhile, Broomfield coach Jim Davidson’s anxious stroll along the sideline of a state title game hasn’t gone anywhere.
Bailey Giddings scored twice — her second, a 69th-minute penalty-kick winner, providing some much-needed liberation as the Eagles went on to beat Rock Canyon 3-1 in claiming the Class 5A final Saturday afternoon at Weidner Field.
“Anxiety is something I’ve felt all year long being a COVID teacher, being a COVID coach,” Davidson said. “Losing that opportunity to coach those 12 seniors last year, this just feels like total redemption and relief. I’m just glad the girls played with so much courage today.”
His sophomore hero was at the forefront of it.
Knotted at 1-apiece, a hand ball called in the box sent Giddings to strike with 11:47 remaining.
The moment came in the shadows of Gustavo Gutierrez’s heroics for the boys’ team in the 2019 title game. His put-back off his own PK was the lone goal in the win over Regis Jesuit.
Now Giddings’ turn with the game in the balance, she admitted her nerves were high. Albeit, so was her confidence. She had practiced for this moment time and time again.
“I looked left, and I think the keeper saw that, and she dove that way and I kicked it the other,” Giddings described.
The ensuing swish of the net, she added, was “a feeling nothing other can compare to.”
Michaela McGowan followed with the dagger — a run-up banger in the box in the 73rd — as Broomfield ended a string of four consecutive losses in a state title game since 2013.
It was the Eagles’ second championship on the girls’ side after previously winning their first in 2006.
“To finally win one at the 5A level and be on par with the boys program, which has won so many championships, it’s pretty special,” said Davidson, who has now led the Eagles to 10 soccer titles. “I’m just so proud of the kids.”
Earlier, a supreme connection between Morgan Scheller and Giddings put Broomfield (13-0-1) ahead in the 34th minute.
On it, Scheller looked as if her options were limited as she raced to save a ball headed out. Hustle play to expert feed, though, Scheller not only managed to keep it from going past the end line, she contorted her body enough to cross the ball along the goal line.
Giddings, then sprinting in, was just able to reach it. Twisting for a good angle herself, the off-balanced sophomore fell to her right as she swung her right foot to the left. Rock Canyon keeper Jazzy Lorenz couldn’t recover and the Eagles went up 1-0 with 6:28 left in the half.
Rock Canyon (12-2) later tied it in the 43rd on Cate Sheahan’s header. Broomfield keeper Dylan Drennan had punched a blistering chance up and away to set up a corner for the Jaguars. Sam Luft’s ensuing cross found Sheahan for her team-leading 13th goal of the season.
From there, the teams traded scoring opportunities as Drennan and Lorenz matched each other with crucial saves. First, Drennan stoned a chance set up by another corner with a diving effort. And not long after that, Lorenz pulled down an on-point free kick from just outside the box by Reagan Kotschau.
But with the sweet right foot of Giddings, Broomfield took control late and prevailed.
The celebration should last for a while.
“It meant a lot more to us, especially with not getting a season last year,” Giddings said. “A lot of people were cut short, especially our seniors last year. They didn’t get a chance to play, so we kind of fed off that energy. We work together and we work hard.”