COMMERCE CITY — Zsuria Phare
simply was in the right place at the right time.
With chaos reigning all around as a loose ball bounced tantalizingly around the Fairview (Boulder)
penalty box, Phare calmly took advantage of the opportunity. Amid the confusion and flailing bodies the senior forward somehow managed to get off a shot.
It was a shot that turned into gold for Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
Phare's goal in the 34th minute lifted the fifth-seeded Bruins to a 1-0 victory against Fairview in the Class 5A state championship match on a rainy night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The victory gave the Bruins their second state title in the program's history, the first since 2001.
"We both played poorly in the first game and there wasn't much to take from that," said Cherry Creek coach Dave Paynter, referring to the 1-1 tie the teams posted in their season-opening showdown on March 9. "But we got to see each other play in the semi's, and they're really good. Once we got a goal they had to put two guys up front, but we were able to hold them off from there."
Cherry Creek (15-5-1) was able to take a 1-0 lead into halftime despite watching Fairview forward Daphnee Morency
repeatedly break free on potential scoring runs throughout the first half. Morency had several chances that were either thwarted late by the Bruins defense or resulted in shots that sailed just wide.
Meanwhile, Fairview goalie Rachel DeCurnou
turned in equally strong defensive moments, making a nifty kick save of a shot by Cherry Creek's Maya Kayyalli
minutes before Phare notched the game's only goal.
Phare's goal ended a five-game shutout streak compiled by Fairview that began in the final game of the regular season.
"It was a scramble," Phare said of her winning goal. "They didn't quite clear it, so I just got in and I just touched it and went far post."
With the Bruins clinging to their one-goal lead, Cherry Creek goalie Alex Kahalley
made sure the advantage held up with several impressive saves during the second half.
Fairview's Olivia Fear
received a fortuitous bounce on a rebound shortly after halftime, but her line drive shot deflected wide after hitting a teammate. Senior defender Berkley Gamble
fired a line drive toward the top of the net in the 50th minute, only to be denied by a leaping Kahalley.
Kahalley's biggest save probably came with about 2 minutes remaining, as she made a diving stop of a shot by Fairview's Nikola Machalek
to keep the 1-0 lead intact.
Additionally, Fairview enjoyed 11 corner kick chances, but the opportunities never paved the way for a goal. Fairview, which made a stirring postseason run as a No. 15 seed and was aiming for its second 5A crown in three seasons, finished the campaign with a 12-6-2 mark.
"We can't be unhappy," Fairview coach Jeremy Pinard said. "It hurts right now. It stings. But when you look back on the whole thing, we got the 15th seed and we were in the state finals. You have to be pretty happy with that. I feel bad for the seniors, but we had a great run."MaxPreps Colorado Class 5A girls soccer state brackets