Warriors hope losing in playoffs gives team future motivation

Haleigh Higgins from Central High School wins a ball in the first half of the Playoff game with Green Mountain HS at Walker Field.

There wasn’t much Doug Beach could tell his Central High School girls soccer team on Tuesday.

“Hold your heads high, ladies,” he said to his charges in the post-game huddle after Central lost its Class 5A opening-round state playoff game 4-1 to Green Mountain.

The Rams (10-5-1) came into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from the always-potent Jefferson County League, but played like league champions Tuesday evening at Walker Field.

“We played steady all year,” Green Mountain coach Ken Fehr said of a team whose five losses came by a total of nine goals.

The Rams took the initiative from the outset, putting pressure on Central goalkeeper Jennifer Aaberg. She replaced Savannah Moore for the first time this season as Moore was serving a one-game suspension after getting a red card in the Warriors’ season finale. It was Aaberg’s first time playing keeper since she was in middle school.

Central trailed only 1-0 at the half, the lone goal coming on Melanie Mohr’s penalty kick in the 13th minute.

Aaberg had a solid game in goal with 14 saves, some coming acrobatically on a left knee that suffered from ligament damage this season.

“She did a great job for not having played goalie for four years,” Beach said. “She stepped up.

I’m so proud of that girl.”

The Rams took a bit of wind out of the Warriors’ sails by scoring less than two minutes into the second half when Annie Austin nudged a ball forward to Hannah Miles, who tapped it in from just in front of the goal.

The Rams’ offense has been prolific on shot attempts this year.

“We weren’t finishing,” Fehr said. “We were able to finish today.”

Warriors forward Stacey Kinnett closed out the scoring with two minutes remaining, drilling a shot from the right baseline that squirted through Green Mountain keeper Meagan Burke’s arms.

“We picked it up at the last part,” Kinnett said. “If we would have played like that the whole time we’d have been fine.”

Central (11-2-2), which gave up more goals in the loss than it had previously given up combined all season, graduates only four seniors.

“We’ve just got to move on from this,” Beach said. “It was good for our team, this playoff experience.”


The Bulldogs trailed only 1-0 at the half, but Wheat Ridge, the top-ranked team in the 4A bracket, broke loose in the second half at Lakewood Memorial Field.

Annie Kunz, the same Wheat Ridge athlete who won the triple jump and the 100-meter hurdles at last weekend’s Tiger Invitational track meet, scored four goals for Wheat Ridge, all
in the second half.

It was the first playoff appearance for Palisade (8-7-0) in 11 years.


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