On a night when No. 6 Arapahoe continuously used a blitzkrieg offensive attack to try and undermine No. 3 Pine Creek, it was Reece Hummel's patience that paid off for the Eagles in the Class 5A state quarterfinals.
Hummel broke a scoreless game with 24:47 remaining when she slipped past the Warriors defense and flipped a shot over Hannah Archuleta to deliver Pine Creek a 1-0 victory Tuesday at District 20 Stadium.
"I wasn't really thinking when I did it," Hummel said. "It was really, I want to win this, I need to be the person to change the game, and with all the team's help it was a possibility from Ryanne Parker and it was just an amazing feeling."
The win put the Eagles into the semifinals for the first time since 2011. They advance to Saturday's semifinals at Englewood to face No. 10 Ralston Valley at 2 p.m.
Earlier in the second half, Hummel, who also missed on a shot that sailed over the Arapahoe goal in the first half, had tried to dribble, finesse and even force her way past a tenacious Arapahoe (13-4-1) defense.
The sophomore's breakaway goal erased all those prior frustrations for the Eagles (15-2-1).
"I was really relieved because I calmed down myself and wasn't getting really as mad, and I started encouraging more like I did in the first half," Hummel said. "It really changed the game."
Hummel has developed into more of a distributor this year and has a team-high 15 assists after finding the back of the net 10 times as a freshman.
But Pine Creek coach John Frederick knew as soon as she took off around the 40-yard line that Hummel had her eyes set on goal.
"She is one of the most competitive people we have and always plays with an edge," Frederick said. "There are few players that just have that attitude mentality of going hard, hard, hard. We need players like that."
Hummel also demonstrated her competitive motor in the first half when she sprinted down the middle of the field to break up a 2-on-1 Arapahoe rush that ended in an offside call thanks to her hustle.
The Eagles defensive unit was stout and physical, and forced Arapahoe into a dump-and-chase offense. Jade Odom (four saves) helped Pine Creek shut out its third consecutive playoff foe and 11th overall, tied for the most in school history.
The freshman's biggest save came with eight minutes remaining in the first half when she robbed Maggie Sexton from in close by throwing her hands high in the air to swat aside Sexton's scorcher in a wild final 10 minutes of a scoreless first half.
"I knew she wasn't going to go low," Odom said. "I knew that because she was leaning back and Jen (Kahle), I'm pretty sure, was guarding her. I just reacted."
Arapahoe coach Kirk Bast said, "I give her a ton of credit. That was a big save."
The Eagles are the highest remaining seed in 5A.
"We need to prepare ourselves for the biggest competition of our lives," Odom said. "You never know what is coming in playoffs."