ARVADA - All it took was a couple of mistakes, and Doherty's run through the 5A girls' soccer playoffs met an untimely end Tuesday.
An early defensive breakdown left Columbine's leading scorer open for an easy breakaway goal, and a hand ball led to the tiebreaking goal with 11 minutes left as the Rebels beat the Spartans, 3-1 in a quarterfinal playoff contest at North Area Athletic Complex.
"We needed to play our best, and that didn't happen," Spartans senior defender Marisa Paukovich said. "We were riding high after our win (Friday) against Fossil Ridge, but we came out flat. We just couldn't get a lot of possession."
Blog: Doherty senior says younger players will draw motivation from loss
Just five days earlier, Doherty (9-8), seeded 17th in the 32-team field, stunned the 5A soccer world with its 1-0 win at top-ranked Fossil Ridge.
"They just beat the No. 1 team, so I know they had a ton of confidence," No. 8 Rebels (15-3) coach Brian Todd said. "I'm sure they felt like they could beat anyone. We talked about playing with confidence and controlling the game. Of course, when you score the first goal, it feels good not to be behind."
In just the seventh minute, Tatum Barton timed an entry pass from Kelcey Cavarra perfectly, sneaking behind the Doherty defense and easily beat Spartans goalkeeper Riley Furbush.
Minutes earlier, Doherty's Janine Lahey rang a shot off the crossbar, and Alex Lanning was unable to get a quality shot off the rebound.
Despite the lapse, the Spartans trailed only by a goal at intermission, then Lahey tied the game with 34:52 left, pouncing on a misplayed clearing attempt after aLanning cross.
"We thought that would swing the momentum," Spartans coach Eryn Gallagher said. "Instead, we seemed to take a deep breath and allowed ourselves to relax. You can't do that in the state quarterfinals."
Columbine reclaimed the momentum, employing its kick-and-chase style over Doherty's possession game. With 12 minutes left, Lahey was called for a hand ball just outside the penalty area.
On the free kick, Cavarra lined a hard shot at the Doherty wall, positioned about six yards in front of Furbush. The ball glanced off a maze of bodies in front and found the back of the net.
"That was like a hockey play, with a lot of traffic in front of the net," Todd said. "It would have been tough to save, and the defense had two chances to clear it, but it was well struck through traffic."
Just over a minute later, Amanda Porter scored on a rebound off a header saved by Furbush to put the game away.
"The team we fielded Friday didn't show up and execute the game plan for this game," Gallagher said. "Instead of the team that goes for the throat, we settled in and kept feeding in to their game. We played to their pace and didn't play our possession game."