Updated: May 22, 2014 at 11:03 pm
Second-grader Jenna Patterson plans to stand on the Washburn Field turf for introductions again someday, but as a member of the Colorado Pride women's soccer team.
"I know I am going to have to practice and play my best," the 4-foot, 2-inch midfielder said before her eyes widened. "And get a lot taller."
The eight-year-old was one of 26 youngsters who accompanied the college-age players onto the field before the inaugural game of the pro-am W-League franchise.
The first game in program history was a memorable one for the Pride with a dominating 1-0 victory over the Cherry Creek-based Colorado Storm.
Penn State junior Mallory Weber scored the opening goal when she sent a high shot into the right upper corner past a leaping Kate Scheele, the Storm goalkeeper, with 15:46 left in the first half.
The score before an announced crowd of 1,000 fans was set up by Coronado High School alumna Catherine Ruder, a Colorado State standout.
"We were moving the ball well and spreading them and most importantly, being patient," Weber said. "I know I missed several shots."
She wasn't the only one. The Pride fired 28 shots with 14 on net.
The Storm (0-2) were unable to sustain possession beyond midfield in the second half.
"We got the three points (for the win) and maintained possession at about 70 to 30 (percent)," Pride coach Daniel Clitnovici said. "Ultimately we need to score more. It's all very positive but tougher games are ahead."
Scheele, a former Colorado College goalie, had 13 saves as the Pride maintained near-constant pressure over the final 20-25 minutes.
Fittingly she made a huge save on one final Pride breakaway during injury time to keep it a one-goal contest.
"This was a bit of a homecoming for her so I am pleased she played well in front of her home fans," Storm coach Mike Haas said. "They are a very athletic team and coached well. They pressed the ball and got players in behind for support."
Patterson was happy to see her heroes prevail. She will be back when the Colorado Springs-based team (1-0) returns home on June 10 to take on the Colorado Rush.
"I'm just happy to see the pro soccer players and all the moves they can do," she said.
Her club teammate Helen Koch, a third-grade defender, aspires to play at Washburn in 10 years or so too.
"I think for them to make the team they are good and special players," she said. "I want to be that good someday."