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Second half adjustments carry Demons past Cougars

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By Brian Forbes

ARVADA — Evergreen’s girls soccer team had a plan to beat, or at least disrupt, Golden on April 4.

Golden just came up with a better plan at halftime.

Forced to labor for a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes against Evergreen, the Demons went from attacking the right side of the Cougars’ defense to the left. The result was two quick goals after halftime to pave the way for a 4-1 Class 4A Jefferson County League victory over Evergreen at the North Area Athletic Complex.

“We definitely came out with a plan,” said Cougars coach Whitney Walker, who had her team focusing on containing the Demons’ midfielders while looking for the counterattack. “Those two goals, that makes all the difference in the world.”

It also dropped the Cougars to 3-5 (2-2 in Jeffco) while the Demons upped their mark to 8-2-1 (5-0).

There were, however, several rays of sunshine for the young Cougars.

Freshman forward Haley Stading prevented the shutout with a nifty goal in the 78th minute. Stading, sophomore Katrina DeBoer, sophomore Anya Kaufmann and junior Anna Campbell combined for several dangerous moments in the attack and were finally rewarded.

Campbell got the ball wide down the right side and crossed the ball into traffic. Stading was on the far side and had the ball pop out to her for a clinical finish from inside the penalty area for her first goal of the season.

Golden outshot the Cougars 15-2 and Stading accounted for both shots on goal. The Demons also had a 10-0 advantage on corner kicks.

“We’re still taking steps,” Walker said. “Last year (a 5-1 loss to Golden) was a very different game.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Gina Leslie made nine saves for the Cougars, her first coming in the seventh minute to deny standout midfielder Nicholette DiGiacomo. DiGiacomo finished with two goals and an assist for the Demons, who also got goals from Marissa Davis and Hannah Lewis.

Leslie made five saves in the first half and held off the Demons for 28 minutes before DiGiacomo fired in the opener off a corner kick.

But Evergreen battled, especially on the right side of its defense with junior Elle Murphy.

The Demons, however, adjusted at halftime by playing with four forwards, pushing the ball wide to the right flank and crossing it into the box.

Davis made it 2-0 just 25 seconds into the second half when she redirected Kailey Osbaugh’s cross from the far side and Lewis made it 3-0 just 44 seconds later when she volleyed home DiGiacomo’s cross to the near post.

The Cougars face Englewood (4-5-0, 3-1-0 Jeffco) on April 10 in what could be a key game for purposes of playoff seeding.