ARVADA — Whiff.
That pretty much sums up Evergreen’s 1-0 cross-classification defeat April 10 to the Pomona Panthers. The Cougars shot and shot and shot the ball but put just four tries – all of them pretty easy – on frame at the North Area Athletic Complex.
“We just couldn’t finish,” junior co-captain Anya Kaufmann said.
“Sometimes you can’t hit the broad side of a barn,” coach Whitney Walker said.
Playing on a field that was as hard as a pool table and had as much grass as the moon, the Cougars settled for shots taken from distance and often from an awkwardly bouncing ball. Both teams struggled to create any fluidity to their game, but yet it was the Class 5A Panthers who got the victory.
The goal came with 6:44 left in the first half as speedy midfielder Meghan Stuart teed up a shot from 27 yards out and drilled it into the right corner of the net where goalkeeper Kara Turner had little chance of saving.
And that was it. The Panthers managed just one additional shot on goal and eventually dropped Stuart into their defense to hold on for the victory.
“It was hard to play the ball on the ground,” Kaufmann said. “It was hard to settle and hard to connect passes. They had to play with it to and they managed to put one in.”
Kaufmann and sophomore forward Haley Stading lurked throughout the game and seemed just one or two touches away from scoring.
Stading was unlucky in the 15th minute when her shot beat the keeper to the short side, only to hit the post and bounce off the keeper’s head for a save.
The Cougars’ defense also had some shaky moments in the opening 20 minutes.
Stuart ran right down the middle of the pitch in the 10th minute, splitting senior defender Jen Schulte and junior Lilli Jackson, only to miss the goal completely from 15 yards out.
Senior defender Elle Murphy almost redirected a cross into her own net in the first half and Stading was denied what looked to be a gimmie goal when Panthers defender Vicki Westerhoff stuck a foot out to block a shot.
It was that kind of day.
“It comes down to taking not the best looks, taking shots that are too far out as opposed to getting in on the dribble,” Walker said. “I think part of it too was we were having a lot of direct attacks, as opposed as trying to swing it to either side.”
The Cougars, however, were hardly discouraged.
They talked afterward about going out and scoring in droves during their next game – a 4A Jefferson County League game against Englewood.
The Cougars found their touch April 13 and crushed the Pirates 10-0. Stading bagged five goals for the Cougars.