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By Jocelyn Rowley

Girls Soccer: Niwot beats Northridge to go undefeated in Northern League


Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Niwot senior Anna McCarthy raced two Northridge players to the ball during their match on April 26.

The Niwot girls soccer team sent their eight seniors off in memorable fashion with a tight 1-0 victory over first-place Northridge to clinch at least a share of the 2018 Northern League title. In front of a packed home crowd on hand to celebrate Senior Night, the Cougars dismantled their final conference opponent with a controlled possession attack that kept the Grizzlies’ defense on its toes and the ball away from its high-scoring offense.

“Individually, everybody came to play today,” Niwot head coach Steve Dimit said after his team’s commanding performance. “Whenever anyone was called upon to do their job, I thought they were outstanding.”

With the win, Niwot moved to 6-0-1 in the conference, and remains one game ahead of Silver Creek, which will play Centaurus in the conference finale on May 2. Both the Cougars and Raptors have allowed just a single goal in League play. On April 10, the rivals clashed through regulation and two overtime periods, ending in a 0-0 draw. At worst, Niwot will end the season tied with Silver Creek for the league title.

It was clear early on that the Cougars had their eyes on that league title prize. Led by seniors Anna McCarthy and Mary Stischer, who were helped by junior midfielders Elise Crall and Ava Dumler, Niwot’s speedy offense pressured Northridge’s defense early and often, generating a number of scoring chances in the first 20 minutes alone.

Northridge found its footing late in the first half, stretching play into the Cougars’ third a few times, but never made a serious threat. However, the Grizzly defense stood tall despite the intense Niwot attack, and the game remained scoreless at halftime.

Niwot poured on the pressure coming out of the half and Stischer scored what would turn out to be the game-winner in the 45th minute, after a perfectly placed cross from McCarthy with her fifth assist of the year. It was Stischer’s third goal of the season, and the third in the last three games.

“I thought we connected and played really well during that three-game stretch where the competition was a little bit less,” Dimit said. Going into the game against the Grizzlies, Niwot had outscored its prior three opponents 24-0. “I think it really showed in our possession game today. It looked sharper than it did before we went in.”

At the other end of the field, senior Nazary Ramirez and the Niwot defense did what they’ve done at every other home game this season—kept their opponent’s offense from scoring. Ramirez, along with Kenzie Pasma, Roxie Pasma and sophomore Lauren Cranny, held the Grizzlies to just a handful of shots, which senior keeper Allie Colvin handled easily to keep Niwot’s ninth shut-out of the season intact.

“We just realized that this game means so much for us,” Ramirez said afterwards. “We’re just getting ready for playoffs, and they’re definitely a playoff team, and they came out really aggressive. We also knew we were fighting for a league title, so we really wanted to win and keep our shutout streak.”

Ramirez credited depth and team chemistry for the backfield’s shutdown play in 2018, and said they are definitely ready for a deep run in the postseason.

“Our defense is super strong this year,” she said. “It’s mostly the same defense as last year, so we know how each other play, and how to cover one another.”

Niwot opened the week with a 10-0 rule-shortened win over Mountain View, the second such game in five days, and the third straight game against a team with three or fewer wins. Crall led the Cougars with four goals, while McCarthy added two more to her team-leading total of 12. Cranny, Stischer, Kiera Flanagan and Sage Marten also got on the board for Niwot.

The Cougars wrap up the regular season on May 3 at Littleton (6-4-2). Pairings for first round matches in the 2018 Class 4A state tournament will be released on May 6, and games begin on May 8.

4/26 — Niwot 1, Northridge 0

Grizzlies (10-2, 5-1) 0 0 — 0

Cougars (10-3-1, 6-0-1) 0 1 — 1

Goals — Mary Stischer

Assists — Ana McCarthy

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Allie Colvin (80-0-6)

4/24 — Niwot 10, Mountain View 0

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Niwot senior Mary Stischer moves to block a pass from a Northridge player during their match on April 26.

Cougars (9-3-1, 5-0-1) 6 4 — 10

Mountain Lions (3-11, 1-6) 0 0 — 0

Goals — Elise Crall (4), Anna McCarthy (2), Lauren Cranny, Kiera Flanagan, Sage Marten, Mary Stischer

Assists — Anna McCarthy (3), Roxie Pasma (2), Maddie Borncamp, Lauren Cranny, Sage Marten

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


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