PARKER ? Two first-half penalty kicks were too much for Palmer Ridge to overcome in its state semifinal 4A soccer struggle with Broomfield. Palmer Ridge's Bears lost, 2-1, Saturday.
The second penalty kick baffled Palmer Ridge coach Nick Odil. The goal came after a hand ball call on Cydney Skinner.
"It was real iffy," Odil said. "And it was on the edge of the box. To me, that's a free kick outside the box, but that's not what they called."
Skinner agreed with her coach. The ball, she said, hit her in the forearm as she was holding her arms tightly against her body.
"It shouldn't have been a call," she said. "The ref was really stingy about it."
Broomfield will play Cheyenne Mountain in Wednesday's title game at Dick's Sporting Goods Field in Commerce City.
The Bears came close to overcoming their 2-0 halftime deficit with a strong second effort. Odil ordered his team to play an aggressive offensive style as Palmer Ridge attempted to rally.
The plan almost worked. The plan also meant goalkeeper Kaylyn Smith was under constant pressure.
She responded with a brilliant effort. Smith robbed Broomfield of three probable second-half goals, including a sprawling save against Eagles star Brittney Stark in the final minutes.
"That was pretty amazing," Odil said, describing Smith's late save. "That should have been a goal, but she's pretty incredible."
The Bears cut into Broomfield's lead with a goal by Madison Thomas with 26 minutes remaining. Thomas directed an expertly placed header into the net after a soaring corner kick by Madison Tominello.