From backline to front and center, postseason Kyla Stroker was back in full effect.
As part of a picturesque evening at Fairview’s turf field Tuesday, the center back helped add to a one-way, Knights performance in Class 5A’s opening round, tallying a goal and an assist in their 3-0 win over Arvada West.
The points were Stroker’s first in the box score since she had a goal in a 10-0 win over Northglenn on April 13. It also marked the second straight year the Eastern Washington commit delivered a point in the opening round of the playoffs, assisting on one of Claire Silverman’s two goals from last spring.
“I don’t know if (the postseason) makes me more excited — obviously there’s a lot more on the line,” Stroker said of it. “This season, there’s 13 of us graduating and I just want to work for every single one of these girls, especially the seniors I’ve played with the past four years. I just want to keep going until May 24, that state championship.”
Payton Larson and Adelaide Obert also scored for No. 14 Fairview and the Knights hit the back of the net three times in the opening half to secure a spot in the second round Friday against No. 3 Legacy.
The Lightning handily beat No. 30 Doherty at North Stadium after a weather delay of an hour and 40 minutes in Round 1. The Knights lost to the Lightning on Kendall Rippley’s overtime winner two weeks ago in Front Range League play.
“As soon as that game ended in overtime, all the girls said we hope to play them again in the playoffs,” Fairview coach Steve Griggs said.
Now, they’ll get their chance.
In the postseason’s first test for the Knights, Larson bodied a corner kick from Stroker in the 18th minute, giving them the lead with her fourth goal of the month, sixth of the season.
Stroker played the ball high and gently into the middle of the box. Larson out-jumped a defender to deflect the chance into the net.
“I honestly couldn’t even feel where it went off,” Larson said. “Probably my hip. But honestly at that moment, I was just putting everything out there to get in the box and hoped it hit a part of me.”
After Obert added to the lead with her fourth goal of the season in the 25th, Stroker painted another brilliant touch from 30 yards out to make it 3-0. Her long ball drifted high and over the hands of keeper Hayden Briscoe into the top right corner of the net. It was her fourth career goal and the first time she had multiple goals in a season.
“She’s a huge part of what we can do,” Griggs said. “To be honest, she’s a coach’s dream. She can play anywhere on the field.”