As each missed opportunity and minute went by, frustration and exhaustion began to wear on Class 4A state title contenders Cheyenne Mountain and Sand Creek on Tuesday night in the squads' Pikes Peak Athletic Conference season opener.
For Indians junior Hannah Gerdin, the 100-plus minutes of scoreless back-and-forth action was even more tiresome after undergoing surgery on her right meniscus two months earlier and only returning to the playing field a week ago.
However, with the help of her teammates pushing her on, Gerdin sent Cheyenne Mountain into jubilation for the second straight game by breaking a scoreless tie with 2:04 remaining in double overtime as the Indians handed the Scorpions their first loss of the season 1-0.
Somehow Gerdin's floater on the home sideline from about 25 yards out found itself past the outstretched arms of Sand Creek goalie Karleen Pappert and into a cozy home in the top-right corner.
"I just wanted the game to be done, I was so tired," Gerdin said. "I just saw my opportunity and took it."
Gerdin had the game-winner in overtime for Cheyenne Mountain (5-0-1 overall, 1-0 PPAC) on Saturday against Pine Creek in her season debut.
The Indians did a solid job containing PPAC leading-scorer Christina Tafoya (15 goals), who broke past the defense a couple of times, but couldn't get the ball behind Hunter Peifer.
Peifer made her best of four saves with 6:50 to go in the second overtime when she charged out of the crease to dive and snag the ball from a sprinting Tafoya down the right sideline.
"A player like her, she is so fast, you never know," Peifer said. "I was always told if you are going to go, go hard and fall and all. I'd rather have the big 50-50 ball than have her try and dribble (against) me because she is an amazing player."
It was the fourth consecutive shutout for the Indians, who have won four one-goal games. It was also Peifer's fourth shutout of the season.
"We were close to them," Tafoya said. "We worked our butts off. I expect to see them again."
After the Indians controlled play in the first half, Tafoya and the Scorpions (7-1, 0-1), who entered the game averaging six goals per game, ramped up their offensive attack by controlling possession. However, fatigue began to set in during the final 10 minutes, which carried into overtime as Cheyenne Mountain used its size and strength to control play.
Sand Creek coach Craig Decker repeatedly called out to his players to hang on with the minutes piling up as the Scorpions battled through their second game in as many nights.
"The girls just got tired," Decker said. "I've got 11 players that played 80, plus another 108 minutes. That's a lot of minutes in back-to-back games. I am proud of these guys. Now they need to believe they can take that next step. We know we are right there."
Cheyenne Mountain coach Tomas Martinez agreed his team's depth was a major difference.
"That was our biggest plan, to try and run them into the ground," Martinez said. "Really work that ball around and out-possess them. But we got sloppy, and they are a very good team. Their goal is to try and keep the ball and we had to work hard to get the ball back."
Martinez and Gerdin agreed it was an important win to start league play.
"I think it also shows other teams we are in it and don't mess with us," Gerdin said.