While Front Range Christian may have won its Class 3A girls soccer first-round game against Colorado Springs Christian by just a goal, the game didn’t feel that close – until the end.
After racing out to a 3-0 the 14th-seeded Falcons continued to attack the Tigers, but, were unable to convert on any of their eight second-half shots. That gave Colorado Springs Christian a glimmer of hope and by the 80th minute, they had turned that glimmer into a blinding light.
Reade Tillman, who scored the Tigers’ first goal late in the first half off a direct free kick, was awarded a free kick from 25 yards out in the final two minutes. Her shot had the proper trajectory and distance, but, Front Range’s Alissa Cornhoff got a glove on the ball and deflected it just wide of the net. The Falcons rode out the clock and walked off their home field with a 3-2 victory.
“Coming in we knew we were ranked higher but we were expecting a really close game,” said Front Range Christian’s Kara Quinn, who scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the 37th minute.
Quinn’s tally came after winning a free ball in front of the Tigers’ penalty area. After settling the ball for a split-second, Quinn ripped a shot to the high left corner for the goal. The goal came just four minutes after Nichole Sellden had made the score 2-0 off a nice touch from Emily Mitchell.
“That’s our game; we try to put as many shots on frame as we can,” Front Range Christian coach Christian Fachathaler said.
After a couple of early near-misses, Mitchell opened the game’s scoring in the 18th minute on a penalty kick, which came after she was tripped up in the box by a Colorado Springs Christian defender.
“I thought our passing and communication was really good,” Quinn said.
The three-goal lead appeared insurmountable as the Tigers had yet to register a shot on goal in the opening half. Tillman, who scored 35 goals in the regular season, gave her squad some life going into halftime as she booted a free kick from 30 yards out past Front Range Christian keeper Kelsey Powell, drawing the Tigers within two at 3-1.
The Falcons started the second the same as the first by attacking at every opportunity. Just as in the first half, Front Range Christian finished the second half with eight shots on goal – but no goals to show for the effort. Colorado Springs Christian’s Kayla Nelson scored off a touch from Tillman in the 71st minute to make things interesting, and to set the stage for the dramatic finish.
“I expected them to come back. We didn’t play as well as we should’ve been playing and even though we put a lot of pressure on them, they held up,” Fachathaler said. “I was concerned that they’d be coming back and they did. We played a fairly good game but it wasn’t a good game for us overall.”
Front Range Christian had its season come to an end May 9 in the second round, falling to No. 6 Manitou Springs 4-1. The Falcons finished the season with a 14-3 record.