Rebels left to ponder after loss to Buffaloes

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By Michael Hicks

GREENWOOD VILLAGE -- If Kristen Hamilton had scored in the game’s opening minutes maybe the outcome would’ve been different. Then again maybe not. But there’s little denying that the Columbine Rebels would’ve put the pressure on Smoky Hill on May 14 during their second-round 5A state girls soccer playoff game at Stutler Bowl.

As it was Hamilton’s only left to wonder, and Columbine’s season came to an end after goals by Patty Murphy-Geiss and Candace Cephers four minutes apart midway through the second half gave seventh-seeded Smoky Hill a 2-0 victory. But Hamilton’s certain that if she had scored an early goal for the Rebels things would’ve been different.

“It would’ve changed everything. The momentum would’ve totally changed. I know we already had momentum after that, but if we had scored that it would been a totally different game for us,” Hamilton said.

The senior forward jumped out on a breakaway from 45 yards out with just Smoky Hill goalkeeper Amanda Raso between her and the goal. Hamilton saw Raso backpedaling to the net. But what she didn’t expect was for the Buffaloes keeper to just stop.

When Raso put the brakes on Hamilton, who figures she took too many touches, tried to boot the ball from 18 yards out. But the shot was stopped at the point of attack and with it went the Rebels’ best shot at scoring.

However, until Smoky Hill (12-4-1) scored in the second half that was the best scoring opportunity of the game. Unfortunately for the 10th-seeded Rebels instead of gaining momentum and advancing to the quarterfinals it was the Buffaloes who moved one step closer to a possible state title.

First, Murphy-Geiss eked a shot past Columbine goalkeeper Katelyn Phillips to break up a scoreless tie. Then four minutes later, after one Smoky Hill goal was disallowed, Cephers headed in a corner kick from Whitney Reiakvam for a 2-0 lead. 

“I think we were in the game until  just a little after we gave up the two goals. But through the first 40 minutes we were the better team,” Columbine head coach Brian Todd said. “We came out and dictated play. We didn’t get in and behind to create a ton of opportunities, but in other ways we were the more dangerous team. We were pushing the play. We kind of pushed the tempo of the game. We came out to play and we brought it.”

Columbine (13-3-1) had just four shots on goal.