Heading into her senior season, a deep, unprecedented run into the Class 4A girls' soccer playoffs was the last thing on the mind of Sand Creek midfielder Christina Tafoya.
Winning the program's first postseason game in school history would have been good enough.
Instead, the Scorpions went far beyond those expectations, and Tafoya played a key part in helping her team advance all the way to the semifinals.
"She is the best player I have coached, hands down," fourth-year Scorpions coach Craig Decker said. "She is a stud and a great kid, and people need to realize she scored all those goals as a midfielder, not a striker."
Tafoya scored 30 goals, added 27 assists and led all 4A girls' soccer players with 87 points as Sand Creek broke through to a 15-3-1 record. In doing so, The Gazette's Girls' Soccer Peak Performer of the Year set a school record for goals in a single season and elevated the Scorpions to the most wins in program history.
"When I see an opportunity to score, I go for it," Tafoya said. "But if I see a better opportunity so they can score, I'll pass it. I like helping my teammates, but I also like scoring."
Part of Tafoya's inner drive came from watching her older brother, Donald, set a school record by scoring 22 goals during the Scorpions' run in the 4A boys' playoffs.
That spring, Christina equaled that mark, netting 22 goals her sophomore season.
After a concussion limited Tafoya to eight games in 2013, she returned to her sophomore form, and then some, in the recently completed season.
"I learned a lot from my brother," Tafoya said. "Two years ago, we had a competition to see who could score the most goals. I tied his record, then broke it this year, and I learned a lot about the game from him."
Tafoya was held without a goal in only four of 18 games played. In the Scorpions' first three playoff games, Tafoya scored four goals and netted two assists before the team's run ended in a 5-0 loss to Broomfield.
She credits the fairy-tale run to a close-knit team, one that after many years played for each other, not as individuals.
"Last year, we had a lot of drama," Tafoya said. "This year, we had no drama. We were all best friends and played as a team. Now, we finally have a banner in our gym. That's pretty cool."