Central hoping to avenge losses
The Central High School girls soccer team has gotten a taste of the Class 5A state playoffs the past two years — albeit a small taste.
The past two season, the Warriors lost to Chatfield in the opening round of the playoffs.
“I think a big part of it was my freshman and sophomore years, we weren’t as mature,” said Central junior forward Haleigh Higgins, a veteran of those previous two losses.
Most of this year’s upperclassmen have been playing varsity soccer for at least three season and the maturity level both physically and mentally has shown.
The Warriors (11-1-2) get a chance to put those two losses to Chatfield behind them tonight when they play host to Green Mountain in the first round of this year’s playoffs. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. at Mesa State College’s Walker Field.
“I think the mistake we made the last two years was we played too defensive,” Higgins said. “I think we should do what we do and not worry about mistakes.”
Ironically, defense has been the strong point of the Warriors this season.
They shut out 10 of their 14 opponents. With a microscopic .21 goals-against average,
Central has given up just three goals all season.
Although Green Mountain has outscored Central 41-37 this season, it has given up 37 goals.
Central’s offense has begun to make strides at the perfect time.
“At the beginning of the year I didn’t think we would come together,” Central coach Doug Beach said.
“Hopefully we haven’t peaked yet,” Beach said. “They’re just now getting my style down. Now they’re starting to pass the ball to players who they were afraid to pass to earlier.”
The only blemish on Central’s record is a 1-0 overtime loss to Grand Junction on April 21.
“It kind of opened our eyes,” Warriors senior forward Stacey Kinnett said.
Having gone through the first cycle of the league schedule unbeaten, “We knew we had a target on our backs,” Kinnett said.
Following that loss, the Warriors took stock of their situation.
Instead of looking at the forwards, midfield and defense as three separate entities, they began to look at all 11 players functioning as a unit.
“I think we did transition better,” Kinnett said of working the ball smoothly from the defense to the midfield and up to the forwards.
The one down note for Central tonight is that it will be without the services of stellar goalkeeper Savannah Moore, who must sit out one game after receiving a red card in
Central’s regular season-ending 3-0 win at Montrose.
Beach has a few things planned to try and compensate. Then again, with a number of Central’s players having been part of the girls basketball team’s run to the Great 8 round of the state playoffs, they know what it’s like to compete during this point in the season.
“It’s less scary because we’ve been through it in basketball,” Kinnett said. “It showed we can do it.”