Lewis-Palmer's reign as 4A soccer champ ends in OT of quarterfinals
MONUMENT — All the momentum Lewis-Palmer had built in rallying from a two-goal deficit was gone in a flash.
Just 2:37 into overtime, Chaynee Kingsbury got behind the Rangers defense, slotted home a perfect through-ball from Abby Gearhart and put No. 6 Windsor into the 4A girls’ soccer state semifinals with a 3-2 win Wednesday, knocking out reigning champion No. 3 Lewis-Palmer at Don Breese Stadium.
The win was extra special for the Wizards, who lost to the Rangers in the regular season a year ago and saw their 2015 season ended in the semifinals by Lewis-Palmer.
“We knew the last two years we lost to them,” Kingsbury said. “We knew this was our year, it was our time to win.”
Windsor (17-1) overcame blowing a 2-0 first-half lead against the Rangers (15-3). A pair of goals by senior Bri Alger just over 11 minutes apart helped the Rangers tie the score with 24 minutes remaining.
They continued to press, Alger narrowly missing a hat trick off a header that would have put the Rangers up in the waning minutes.
“I thought we were going to get a two-peat,” Alger said. “But that didn’t end up happening. We definitely made an impact.”
Windsor grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when Lewis-Palmer turned the ball over in their own end just outside the box.
Margaret Zimmerman snagged the pass, beat a defender and scored low. The Wizards doubled the lead on Gearhart’s 33rd goal, on a shot from outside the box.
“We knew we could compete with them,” coach Mario Garcia said. “We’ve gotten better.”
After a halftime talk from coach Ryan Parsons that seemed to get the Rangers going, they started to push. Both of Alger’s goals coming on shots from outside the box, the first after shaking two defenders with several stepovers before shooting.
The Rangers were well aware they had played a first half below their standards.
“At halftime we got yelled at,” Alger said. “That gave us an awakening that we’re not just playing for ourselves and for our team, but also for our coach. He wanted this as much as we did. It hit us that this could be our last game. So we came out with a little more passion.”
Despite the rally, the Rangers saw their reign come to an end. But the last three seasons proved an impressive run, reaching the finals in consecutive seasons, winning the 2016 title and reaching the quarterfinals this season.
“It’s been a journey,” Parsons said. “These girls are something special. … Their freshman year they got to be on varsity together. And then they just kind of had that special bond.”
The Wizards will face No. 7 Evergreen, which upset No. 2 Wheat Ridge.