COLORADO SPRINGS — For all of the first half and most of the second, the Evergreen Lady Cougars proved they belonged in the 4A state girls soccer quarterfinals, even if their No. 24 seeding may have indicated otherwise. But, eventually, all good things do come to an end.
Tori Burnett’s goal in the 44th minute proved to be the difference as top-seeded Cheyenne Mountain held off a valiant effort from a banged-up Evergreen squad for a 1-0 victory on May 14 at Cheyenne Mountain High School. The win was the second of what is now three straight 1-0 victories for the Lady Indians (17-0-2), who will play Broomfield for the state championship at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City on May 21. However, up to and even after Burnett’s goal, Evergreen more than showed that it wasn’t intimidated by the defending state champions.
“Until the ball was in the back of our net, I felt like we had them under a lot more pressure than they had us. I think they were very concerned with how we were playing. We were getting in spaces that were very dangerous to them,” Evergreen head coach Peter Jeans said. “They had the one set piece where it bounced around a few plays, and the ball ended up in the back of the net. Obviously, we couldn’t get it back.”
The loss snapped Evergreen’s four-game winning streak.
Evergreen’s bid for another tournament upset wasn’t helped by injuries to Katie Wilson toward the end of the first half and sophomore scoring threat Zoe Peterson in the game’s closing minutes. Peterson was helped off the field with a sprained right ankle.
The contest marked the third straight road game for the 24th-seeded Lady Cougars (11-5-2), but in tournament-opening wins at Pueblo Centennial and Air Academy, and even for large portions of the game against Cheyenne Mountain, Evergreen played like a team that was anything but a lower seed.
“As far as the 24 seed, we just had a couple low points in our season that placed us there. But as far as skills, the 24 seed really didn’t represent what our team was capable of,” Evergreen senior Erin Morrato said. “Playing Pueblo Centennial and Air Academy, they were two teams I think we deserved to win against. This game — we really wanted to win this game. It took a lot to come here, but I think we were well-deserved to get here. A win was very possible. It was just unfortunate that it came out on the other side.”
Contact Michael Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.