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By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Girls Soccer: Niwot bounces back against Longmont

 

April 25, 2018

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Junior Elise Crall (8) tries to get in front of a Longmont defender to intercept a pass during their game on April 18.

Starting defensive back Lauren Cranny may be accustomed to keeping the ball away from the net, but she had no trouble overcoming that inclination against cross-town rival Longmont on April 18. Making her first high school start at midfield, the speedy sophomore scored her second and third career goals to lead Niwot to a 4-0 victory, the Cougars’ first multiple-goal game since April 5.

“Lauren Cranny is just an all-around great player and athlete,” Niwot head coach Stephen Dimit said following Niwot’s seventh win of the year. “She did exactly what we knew she could do.”

Dimit moved Cranny in a bid to add a spark to the Niwot attack, which had mustered just three goals in its four prior games. Using her considerable speed to get past Trojan defenders, she scored in the eighth minute to put Niwot up 1-0, and then again in the 60th to make it 2-0. Afterwards, the 10th-grader admitted she was “a little nervous” in the unfamiliar position, but enjoyed being able to contribute on offense. She also credited her teammates for bouncing back after a tough loss at Mead on April 14.

“We really worked well as a team,” Cranny said. “We’ve been working on our possession game, and today we were able to see that final ball through.”

Cranny’s speed is attracting attention off the pitch as well. In her free time, she has been moonlighting as a sprinter for the Niwot track team, competing most recently in the 4x200M relay at the Mullen Invite on April 7. Though soccer is her priority, she hopes to continue both sports as time allows.

“I really enjoy it,” she said. “I did indoor track over the winter, so I thought I’d give outdoor a try. I go to soccer practice and then I do my track workouts and whenever I have time I do the track meets.”

Cranny was joined upfield by fellow back Kenzie Pasma, who also played midfield against the Trojans. In their place, sophomores Sydney Lee and Zoe Winter both saw significant playing time on the back line, and helped the Cougar defense secure its sixth shutout of the season.

“It’s nice to have that dominant presence in the midfield to start the game,” Dimit said of the lineup changes. “Sydney Lee has been playing so well, and with her coming along, we had the opportunity to get her into the game and move Lauren up … Zoe got a start because she came in off the bench at Mead and played really well. She earned another opportunity and I thought she was solid tonight.”

In fairness, Niwot’s offense made things easier for its defense, as did Longmont’s offense, which has struggled to put balls in the net this season. The Cougars controlled possession in both halves, but didn’t start reliably connecting on scoring passes until midway through the second. Seniors Sage Martin and Anna McCarthy combined for the Cougars’ third goal with 24:29 to go in the game, and then sophomore Natalia Storz made it 4-0 with her third goal of the year with just under 11 minutes to go.

“Statistically, we played the toughest schedule in 4A soccer up to today,” Dimit said. “It’s nice to have a game where we can put a bunch of goals on the board.”

Cranny will likely see more time at midfield this season, and there could be further lineup changes due to injury or illness. Unfortunately, junior Sierra Kepler will likely miss the remainder of the season with an arm injury she suffered during the win over Centaurus, and senior Aria Carlston remains sidelined with a leg injury.

“We’ll do what we need,” Dimit said, on whether his lineup changes were permanent. “We have a lot of players who can do different things. Everybody reacted really well to changing and sharing responsibility today.

“Hopefully we keep taking care of things early,” he continued. “Then we can give players new opportunities in different roles so that they can grow a little bit, and we can rest some players who need it.”

The Cougars took care of things early and often against Greeley Central on April 19, winning 10-0 in the rule-shortened 48 minute contest. Four Niwot players — Marten, McCarthy, freshman Maddie Borncamp and sophomore Autumn Carlston — had two goals apiece, and Mary Stischer and Ava Dumler added the other two.

With the wins, Niwot moved to 8-3-1 on the season, and remained unbeaten in the Northern League. After a road game at Mountain View on April 24, the Cougars host Northridge for their home finale on April 26.

4/18 — Niwot 4, Longmont 0

Trojans (1-9, 1-3) 0 0 — 0

Cougars (7-3-1, 3-0-1) 1 3 — 0

Goals — Lauren Cranny (2), Sage Marten, Natalia Storz,

Assists — Ana McCarthy (2), Kiera Flanagan (1)

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Allie Colvin (80-0-1)

4/19 — Niwot 10, Greeley Central 0

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Junior Elise Crall (8) tries to get in front of a Longmont defender to intercept a pass during their game on April 18.

Warriors (4-3) 0 0 — 0

Cougars (6-2-1) 0 1 — 0

Goals — Sage Marten

Assists — Natalia Storz

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Allie Colvin (80-0-2)

 

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