MONUMENT - Palmer Ridge is hoping the third time is the charm.
The third-seeded Bears scored quickly and often in a 4-0 win over No. 22 Wheat Ridge to advance to the semifinals of the 4A state girls' soccer tournament for the third consecutive year. The victory was the fourth straight for Palmer Ridge (14-3-1) and its seventh shutout win of the season.
The Bears will face No. 2 Broomfield at Sports Authority Field in Parker at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
"I think the girls have some added motivation going (into the semifinals)," Palmer Ridge coach Nick Odil said. "We're tired of going there and not going anywhere else. We're hoping this is the year we can break through."
Senior Taylor Schnorr got the Bears rolling early by scoring from the left wing just 5:43 into the game, and senior Poli Warwick made it 2-0 10:12 into the game with a goal off a pass from sophomore Maddie Tominello. Tominello was in the middle of the Bears' attack all night, assisting on the final three goals.
Tominello had a chance to get a goal herself after Palmer Ridge was awarded a penalty kick with 45 seconds remaining in the first half, but Farmers goalie Carly Manahan made a diving save in the corner of the net to keep it a two-goal game. Bears goalie Kaylyn Smith made a couple of stellar saves of her own, diving to make a save with 14 minutes left in the first half and making another acrobatic snare with 8:34 on the clock in the second half to preserve the shutout.
Mackenzie Gouner deposited a Tominello free kick into the Farmers' net 4:29 into the second half to give Palmer Ridge an insurance goal, and Tominello found Holly Weyand with a pass up the middle to end the scoring.
"Early in the halves, we were really on top of everything," Odil said. "We played good team soccer today, and we had a lot of different kinds of goals, so I'm happy."
Getting off to a fast start was just what the Bears were aiming for against the Farmers (12-5-1).
"One of our mottos is ?Let's get it going from the start,' and that's what we did," Schnorr said. "We love this stadium and have had a very good record here. We're definitely looking to go on, but we've got to take it one game at a time."
Wheat Ridge - which beat the Bears in the semis two years ago - was never able to get into an offensive groove at Don Breese Stadium and could not stop Palmer Ridge's attack.
"I think that, with them coming out and getting a couple early, we just didn't settle into the game until later in the first half," Wheat Ridge coach Dan Watkins said. "Getting behind put us in a tough situation, and we weren't able to get out of it. I'm proud of my group, but we got beat by a better team tonight."