ARVADA — Kristen Hamilton was either going to break something or break free April 30 against Ralston Valley.
It turned out to be the latter.
Hamilton highlighted a physical 80 minutes of soccer with a breakaway goal six minutes into the second half as the shorthanded Rebels held on for a 1-0 Class 5A Jefferson County League victory over the Mustangs at the North Area Athletic Complex.
“I knew coming in it was going to be a physical game,” Hamilton said.
The senior was the centerpiece of an attack that was missing sophomore Ember Albertson due to sickness. That made Hamilton the focus of the Mustangs’ defense, which meant she was bodied up, swarmed and generally pestered every time she even thought about receiving the ball.
The Rebels played without some usual players. According to coach Brian Todd, it was “not a very good performance.”
Of course, that’s all relative to a team now ranked No. 6 in the state and has won 12 straight games.
Regardless of the outcome of yesterday’s (May 4) game against rival Chatfield, the Rebels sealed the league title after the Chargers were upset 1-0 by Standley Lake.
The Rebels, however, were outshot 5-2 by the Mustangs, who put Columbine’s shorthanded defense and sophomore goalkeeper Katelyn Phillips to the test numerous times.
Columbine had the run of play early and Bri Klomp found herself free on goal off a great through-ball by Hamilton in the third minute. Klomp took one step too long to size up her shot and was left with nothing.
In the 16th minute it was Allison Durden-Porter nearly connecting with Kelly Cline on the near post, while Klomp had her goal nullified for offside in the 24th minute.
Then the Mustangs rallied and would have scored had it not been for some stop-gap defending by Sarah Dean, Phillips, Ashley Morris and Marissa Azua, who all combine legs and other limbs to block and clear two dangerous chances.
Phillips’ best stop was a partial save in the 43rd minute as she got a piece on a point-blank attempt to redirect it off the post.
Three minutes later, Hamilton was sent clear on a through-ball by Klomp. Hamilton deked the keeper, pushed the ball to her left and had an empty net to shoot into.
As happy as Hamilton was with that, she was peeved with her miss in the 61st minute when she got another breakaway. Hamilton had the time and space but shot right into the goalkeeper’s waiting arms.
The Mustangs ensured a nervy finish, as they had a goal waived off for offside in the 70th minute and narrowly missed another goal in the 75th.