Piper picked perfect penalty placement

Ralston Valley last Jeffco 5A girls soccer team standing at state tourney

By Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 5/20/19

LAKEWOOD — Sarah Piper admitted she got a little lucky May 15 at Lakewood Memorial Field. “Sometimes you get a little lucky,” Piper said about scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 victory for No. …

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Piper picked perfect penalty placement

Ralston Valley last Jeffco 5A girls soccer team standing at state tourney

Posted

LAKEWOOD — Sarah Piper admitted she got a little lucky May 15 at Lakewood Memorial Field.

“Sometimes you get a little lucky,” Piper said about scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 victory for No. 14-seeded Ralston Valley over No. 11 Columbine in a Class 5A girls soccer state quarterfinal at Lakewood Memorial Field. “Today we got a little lucky and sometimes you need that.”

The Ralston Valley senior midfielder took a direct-free kick in the final seconds of the first half. Piper faced a three-person wall, but before taking the kick saw a bit of any opening.

“It’s funny I’m not a free-kick taker, but anytime I shoot it’s normally with my left foot,” Piper said. “I knew I could probably bend it and I saw the keeper move toward the far post. I figured I could bend it over the wall and see what happens. I got a little lucky.”

Piper’s shot bent over the wall and toward the near post. Columbine junior goalie Elizabeth Michael was in position to make the save moving toward the post, but the ball slipped through her and into the net.

“The game of soccer is you work hard and sometimes you get lucky,” Ralston Valley coach Kamee Morwood said of the goal with eight seconds left in the first half held up. “It was a great shot and we got a little lucky on it, but we continued to play well to finish out the game.”

Ralston Valley (13-3-2 record) ended up being the lone Jeffco team to make the 5A semifinals Saturday, May 18, at Echo Park in Parker. The Mustangs’ season came to an end with a 1-0 shutout loss to Grandview.

The Mustangs came up one-game short of advancing to the championship game for the first time in five years. Ralston Valley was in the 5A title game against Columbine back in 2014, losing to the Rebels 3-1.

The first meeting between Columbine and Ralston Valley this season ended with the Rebels scoring two second-half goals at Lakewood Memorial for a 2-0 victory.

Freshman Riley Kaali-Nagy and junior Peyton Weber had a goal and assist each to account for Columbine’s scoring.

“There were both really close games,” Piper said comparing the two meeting. “I think both games could have gone either way.”

Since the loss, Ralston Valley went 6-0-1 coming into the quarterfinal. The Mustangs knocked off No. 3 Fruita Monument in the second round out on the Western Slope with a 1-0 win.

“It’s so fun. These girls have worked so hard, as have (Columbine). We knew it was going to be an emotional battle between teams,” Morwood said. “It’s always hard when you go in and play a rival in this kind of a game.”

Columbine (15-5-1) also needed a road victory to advance to the quarterfinals. The Rebels upset No. 6 Regis Jesuit in the second round to set up the all-Jeffco quarterfinal.

The game saw the end of a brilliant prep soccer career of Columbine senior Tessa Barton, who will play for the University of Colorado next school year. Barton had 24 goals on the season and finished her career with 57 tallies.

Ralston Valley senior defender Sophie Moran was up to the task of keeping Barton from getting on the scoresheet.

“It was hard, but I’ve been up against her (Barton) before and I know how to do it,” Moran said of marking one of the elite goal scorers in the state over the past four years.

Dennis Pleuss is a communications specialist for Jeffco Public School with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.

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