LAFAYETTE — Centaurus junior goalkeeper Garrett Pugh dropped flat to the turf at Spangenberg Field Wednesday night after Mullen’s Alex Sedita hit the back of the net to send the visiting Mustangs to a 3-2 penalty shootout victory.
Pugh had been brilliant in the Class 4A state second round PKs, making two diving saves among five chances after neither the No. 4 Warriors nor No. 20 Mullen could break a 1-1 deadlock after two overtimes. But it wasn’t enough as Centaurus missed high twice in the shootout and had another saved by keeper Mitch Ringman.
Face in the ground, Pugh was thinking of his guys.
“Just how much I love them,” Pugh said. “I know the seniors aren’t always going to be there, so I was just thinking of them. Just taking it all in for them.”
A season perhaps not many outside the Lafayette community saw coming is over. The 2022 Warriors underwent quite the makeover since their last trip to second round of the postseason in 2019, back when forward sensations Christian Nunez and Fernando Ruiz were leading the way with multi-goal games every week for longtime coach Lee Stanley.
In the latest version (following an 8-8 season last fall), 10 different players scored multiple goals and 17 recorded at least a point as the Warriors won 14 games and claimed the 5A/4A Northern Colorado Athletic Conference title.
They were then mere feet from continuing their season, narrowly missing the walk-off winner on several chances in overtime.
“We’ve had streaks throughout the season where we’ve had practices where we hit wide, hit it into the keeper. The next practice everything is going in,” first-year coach David Wood said. “We missed a few chances, but it happens.”
Earlier, Alejandro Arellano scored his second postseason goal in the 37th minute for Centaurus after netting his first in a 6-1 opening round win over Fruita Monument, tying the reigning Class 4A runner-up at 1-apiece.
With 3:40 and ticking toward halftime, the ball set squarely between him and keeper Ringman at the top of the box — and almost like the start of gym class dodgeball, the two broke into a sprint, charging at it from opposite directions.
Arellano got there first, Ringman slid. The senior’s shot never left the ground as it bypassed Ringman’s extended arms and rolled up into of the net. It was his third straight game with a goal, finishing with five on the season.
Centaurus then took command late in the second half and into each overtime period. Among its near misses, Antoine Grenier had a breakaway chance pushed aside in the 88th, Brandon Fellows-Mason missed just high in 97th and Kasey Minor was narrowly wide with a header in the 104th.
In other local action in 4A Wednesday, No. 7 Niwot advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-2 win over No. 23 Steamboat Springs. Javier Alvira scored the winner with 2:30 remaining and keeper Matt Hansen saved a penalty kick in the win.
The Cougars face No. 2 defending champ Northfield Saturday after it beat No. 15 Skyline in a shootout. No. 6 Silver Creek fell to No. 22 Northridge.
From Tuesday, No. 12 Fairview, No. 4 Broomfield and No. 1 Legacy advanced to the 5A quarterfinals. The Knights and Eagles will face off at Englewood High School Saturday, while the Lightning play No. 8 Ralston Valley.
No. 2 Jefferson Academy will host No. 7 Peak to Peak in the 3A quarterfinals Saturday.