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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Mace's hat trick leads Eagles past Rebels

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By Brian Forbes

LAKEWOOD- What could you do in 2 minutes, 40 seconds?

You could steal $160 million in artwork fromSwitzerland’s E.G. Buhrle museum if you were so inclined. You could start a blog, or you could wait in line at Starbucks.

Dakota Ridge freshman Carly Mace used her time to score three goals March 18 and blow a close game with rival Columbine wide open.

“I was very thrilled, actually,” Mace said with a grin that may take weeks to remove.

Mace’s improbable hat trick at Lakewood Memorial Field turned a 1-1 stalemate into a 5-1 rout while ensuring the Eagles (3-0-1) an unbeaten start to the Class 5A season.

With a blustery wind at their backs, the Eagles dominated the first half, outshooting the Rebels 7-2 yet were tied at halftime. Defender Brittany Cito struck in the eighth minute for the Eagles with a 30-yard free kick, but Columbine (1-3-0) leveled the score 11 minutes before the break on a breakaway goal by sophomore Kristen Hamilton.

It was the first goal surrendered by the Eagles this season, snapping a streak of 219 scoreless minutes.

As luck would have it, the wind died down for the second half, preventing Columbine from the kind of advantage Dakota Ridge enjoyed. The Eagles outshot the Rebels 6-0 in the second half and were finally rewarded when Mace caught fire.

“Our offensive runs have been getting better,” Eagles coach Damon Smerchek said. “We created some opportunities and actually finished some stuff in the second half, although we didn’t in the first. We let them hang around a little longer that I would have liked.”

The Rebels were unlucky not to grab the lead in the 69thminute when midfielder Al Meyer fired the ball into the next just after being whistled offside.

The Eagles came back less than a minute later with a pass to Mace deep in the Columbine box. Mace turned past her defender and was alone on the 6-yard box to fire with ease past goalkeeper Molly Ramirez.

Eighty seconds later Mace headed home a perfect cross from the right side to make it 3-1. Eighty seconds later Mace pounced on a loose ball and roofed it after Ramirez mishandled Emily Holley’s cross.

“If someone told you that was going to happen, you’d call them a liar,” Smerchek said.

But the Eagles weren’t through.

With 17 seconds remaining, freshman forward Kelsey Loupee drilled a shot into the back of the net from around the top of the penalty area to cap the rout.

The story of the game was Dakota Ridge’s possession. The Eagles linked well through the midfield and attacked Columbine on both flanks and up the middle.

Dakota Ridge goalie Kelsey Elgie made just one save and Ramirez finished with eight. Ramirez’s best save was to deny Mace on the doorstep in the 14thminute.

Columbine10-1

Dakota Ridge14-5

Goals – DR: Cito (8thminute); C: Hamilton (29th); DR: Mace (70th); Mace (71st); Mace (73rd); Loupee (80th).