Updated: April 20, 2013 at 12:00 am
With their early morning work done, Cheyenne Mountain’s girls’ soccer team could concentrate on dancing.
The Pikes Peak 4A No. 1 Indians held off second-ranked Sand Creek 3-2 Saturday morning, hours before prom night, in a game rescheduled because of an April 9 snowstorm. Jackie Kitchen took an Ellen Smith pass 1:27 into the second half and scored what would be the eventual game-winner to propel Cheyenne Mountain (8-1-1, 4-0 4A Pikes Peak) to its seventh consecutive victory.
The win was a crucial one for league ramifications. The host Scorpions (7-2-1, 1-2) had been unbeaten in their first eight games and put themselves in contention for a coveted playoff spot. The Indians missed several quality scoring chances late in each half, allowing Sand Creek to stay close in a game that could have been more lopsided.
“We could have ended this early, and we didn’t,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Tomas Martinez said. “I worry that, if we don’t get in the habit of doing that, it’s going to hurt us in the playoffs like it has in the past. We should have finished our chances.”
The Indians got on the board first thanks to Hannah Gerdin’s unassisted goal 14:25 into the game, but Ashley Ramsey’s conversion of a rebound tied the score just 1:05 later. Sara Walters broke the tie with 8:54 remaining in the first half, and Cheyenne Mountain took that lead into halftime after a pair of missed chances in the Scorpions’ box in the final 8 minutes of the half.
Kitchen gave the Indians a two-goal lead soon after, and it held up despite a Sand Creek goal by Amanda Gagnon with 14:19 left in regulation. Cheyenne Mountain could not convert on another choice scoring chance with 3 minutes remaining, but possessed the ball enough late to run out the clock.
“I don’t think we were really connecting, but we got the win and that’s all that matters,” said Kitchen, one of four Cheyenne Mountain seniors. “Ellen (Smith) had a great cross (pass) and we had numbers in the box, and I was able to get it in.”
Sand Creek was without star midfielder Christina Tafoya for the second straight game due to a concussion, but her teammates impressed their coach with a valiant effort in her absence.
“I’d like to have their first two goals back, but I feel like we played well,” Scorpions coach Craig Decker said. “The girls gave it everything they had.”
Decker’s squad will be in a dogfight for a playoff spot from the stacked Pikes Peak Athletic Conference, but he hopes the close game against the Indians will give his players confidence.
“This team can play with anybody,” he said. “The next five games have to be wins for us.”
For the Indians, the victory enabled the girls to be girls for the rest of the day and focus on one of the social highlights of their year.
“I’m going home, showering and going to get my nails done and hair done, so there’s a lot going on,” Kitchen said. “Everybody’s excited.”