LAKEWOOD — Second chances are a beautiful thing.
The Columbine Rebels girls soccer team got a few of them April 9 against the Lakewood Tigers, and they made them stick.
The Rebels got off to a slow start but were not punished despite strong pressure from the Tigers.
When awarded a penalty kick in the 33rd minute, Kelsey Meyer had her first attempt blocked, only to be awarded another try after the referee said the Tigers entered the penalty area early.
Meyer buried the retry and it proved to be the game-winner in Columbine’s 2-1 Class 5A Jefferson County League victory at Lakewood Memorial Field.
Senior midfielder Al Meyer scored the opener in the 18th minute to grab the momentum for the Rebels (3-2-1 Jeffco, 5-5-1 overall). But it would slowly fizzle in the second half as Tigers goalie Becca Borst made four big saves and the Tigers (1-3-1, 1-7-1) scored to set up a nervy finish.
“I thought we started out a little bit slow, a little bit sluggish, a little bit disinterested almost,” Rebels coach Peter Horvath said. “But once we got into the flow a little bit, scored, I felt like we kind of took that game over and we probably should have scored a couple more goals.”
Sophomore forward Kristen Hamilton and senior Alyssa Horvat were a constant source of danger for the Rebels, but both were denied by Borst.
Columbine swarmed for the first 20 minutes of the second half before the Tigers roared back with a goal by Jordan Shaw off a corner kick.
And then things got interesting.
The Rebels surged with their possession game, breaking down the Tigers and getting open for shots. The Tigers earned free kicks from dangerous places and two more corner kicks
“We are definitely a second-half team,” Al Meyer said.
The first half, however, proved to be crucial for the Rebels
The Tigers got in the mix early, pressuring the Rebels and producing the first save when Lien Hoffmann redirected a corner kick in the 14th minute that was saved by Columbine goalie Kalli Parmley.
Four minutes later Al Meyer struck when she got free on the far post to calmly steer a cross by senior Natalie Ortiz into the back of the net.
Kelsey Meyer was denied a goal in the 30th minute before the Rebels were awarded a penalty for a hand ball in the penalty area.
Kelsey Meyer shot low on her first penalty attempt and Borst denied it. But the retry went much smooth as Meyer smashed it low and to the left.