ENGLEWOOD - When the most gut-wrenching game that almost every Pine Creek player had been a part of was finally over, Eagles coach John Frederick and his team sat together on the sideline, not saying much at all.
Sarah Bevington's 30-yard goal in the 68th minute was the difference for No. 10 Ralston Valley (16-3), which stunned the No. 3 Eagles (15-3-1) and their usually stingy defense with three unanswered goals in the 5A girls' soccer semifinals at Englewood High School.
The 3-2 loss ended Pine Creek's season as well as its chance to win a Class 5A state championship. The Mustangs, who scored all of their goals on shots from outside 25 feet, will get that chance instead, against Columbine on Wednesday, after beating the second-, third- and seventh-ranked teams in their past three postseason games.
"What do you say?" Frederick said. "It hurts so much for us because of how much we care about each other. If we didn't care about each other as much, it would just be disappointing. But it really hurts. So what do you say?"
Up 2-0, the Eagles were in a really good place early on. Outscoring their postseason foes 9-0 coming into Saturday, the defense and offense were dominant for most of the first half against the Mustangs.
Mattie Cutts buried a goal from atop the box after a nifty move split two defenders in the 14th minute and Madeline Alhamra bounced back from consecutive missed scoring opportunities in the 27th minute to make it 2-0 Eagles in the 29th minute.
"We played really well for most of that half," said Frederick, whose team hadn't given up a two-goal lead all season.
Back came Ralston Valley, however. Brenna Martinez cut the lead in half with a long-distance goal from just inside 40 yards out in the 34th minute, before Alyssa Kaiser spun around two defenders from just outside the box and looped a high shot off of Pine Creek goalie Jade Odom's extended arms to tie the game in the 60th minute.
Bevington, a freshman, completed the turnaround with her second goal of the season eight minutes later.
"In the first half I was taking too many touches," she said. "So when I got my chance there at the end I just shot as soon as I could."
Pine Creek, which will lose six seniors to graduation, had four one-on-one chances with Ralston Valley's goalie and couldn't cash in on any of them.
"We don't want to feel like this again," said Odom, who had 10 saves Saturday. "I know I don't want to feel like this again."