LOVELAND -- A negated goal in the 12th minute was the difference as Coronado lost to Thompson Valley 1-0 in the first round of the 4A girls' soccer playoffs at Mountain View High School.
The Cougars’ Tiana Cerciello flicked it over the keeper’s head and Emily Ransom drove it home to seemingly make it 1-1 with 29:59 remaining in the first half Tuesday.
But there was no signal.
The antsy crowd at District Soccer Field then watched the three referees circle into a lime-green huddle and wave off the goal, saying Ransom was offside.
None of the officials were available for comment after a bout that featured two yellow cards and a red.
“I don’t believe she was at all,” Coronado coach Jenn Ury said. “It was very frustrating to us. Those kinds of calls take a toll on a team, but give credit to Thompson Valley – they held us.”
The Eagles took the lead in the 9th minute when Jordan Paulsen laced a shot from just inside midfield that bounced off Coronado (10-6) keeper Emily Lambert’s hands and crept in.
“I should have caught it,” Lambert said. “It was simply a keeper catching error.”
Lambert said she had her hands in the wrong position, which her coach said is extremely unusual for the sophomore.
“She has had the flu the past couple of days," Ury said. "She never makes those kinds of errors. You know, besides that she played great.”
Lambert made 14 saves to keep the game in reach, but the season eventually slipped away despite a late push.
“We played much much better in that second half,” Ury said. “Just couldn’t punch one in.”
Cerciello, who leads the team with 15 goals, missed one just high and another just wide in the final 20 minutes. And Shannon Yong came the closest when she hit the crossbar with 12:50 remaining.
Five of the Cougars’ six losses came by shutout. Even so they finished fifth in the CSML behind four of the top eight teams in 4A (No. 1 Cheyenne Mountain, No. 3 Palmer Ridge, No. 5 Air Academy and No. 8 Lewis-Palmer). After a loaded schedule down the stretch, Coronado came into the playoffs down three starters (Hailey Garton and Julie Ward with concussions and Monique Esquibel with a broken leg she suffered against Lewis-Palmer).
“I’m proud of all you for this season,” Ury told her players after the game. “Do I think we should have won this game? Yes. But I’m proud of how hard each of you worked this season.”
Thompson Valley (8-8) faces the top-seeded Indians in round two Friday.