Apr 21, 2014 10:00 AM by Posted by Greg Smith
COLORADO SPRINGS - A total of 21 points separated No. 1 Cheyenne Mountain and No. 2 Sand Creek in this week's CHSAANow.com rankings. It took 97 minutes and 52 seconds of a highly-contested game Tuesday night at Cheyenne Mountain High School to show why those 21 points exist.
The Indians and Scorpions held each other without a goal through all of regulation and all of one extra time period. The game appeared destined to end in a tie until junior forward Hannah Gerdin struck the back right corner of the net from 30 yards out to give the Indians a 1-0 win.
"I wish I could've (done it earlier)," Gerdin said after the game. "I just saw my opportunity and took it, the goalie was out of her position and we were tired of overtime so I just did what I had to do."
The game-winning goal came after a see-saw battle that saw Cheyenne Mountain's vaunted defense limit the opportunities for Sand Creek before finding the back of the net over an hour and a half after the opening kick.
The Indians saw several scoring opportunities in the first half, mostly as a result of dominating the time of possession. The defenders kept the early Scorpion offensive pushes away from the net and goaltender Hunter Pfeifer didn't see a true scoring opportunity the entire half.
It was a much different story on the end of the field. The Indians kept pressing the attack, challenging Scorpions goalie Karlene Pappert several times, but were unable to convert those chances into a goal. Forward Hannah Gerdin was able to sneak by the Scorpions defense twice late in the half, but both shots were corralled by Pappert.
"I think we weren't expecting them to be that strong and to come out really hard," Gerdin said. "We just couldn't work together to get the ball in the beginning."
The lopsided time of possession in the first half wouldn't hold in the latter part of the game. Both teams began to find a rhythm offensively, even if they weren't netting goals. While attacking the Scorpions' goal, a blocked shot was picked up by Indians midfielder Summer Halle who had a look at a wide-open net. Her shot was deflected by a Scorpions defender.
On the ensuing corner kick, Halle once again had a look at the net but the shot was defended by Pappert. At that point, the game became much more of a back and forth affair than it was in the first half as the Scorpions found a way to attack the Indians the goal, but ultimately to no avail.
"I feel like obviously we got tired and they were rolling four or five subs at a time and we weren't subbing at all," Sand Creek coach Craig Decker said. "I said before the game that our starting 11 can play with any starting 11 and we showed that tonight."
Regulation ended with no score and before Gerdin's game-winning shot, the Indians had other chances to walk away with the win. Thalia Kusulas and Kyra Darr both had shots right in front of the Scorpions net, but Kusulas pushed hers wide while Pappert smothered Darr's attempt.
The next extra time period began and although there were fewer opportunities, Gerdin made the most of the one chance she had, ending the game and likely keeping the Indians atop the 4A rankings.
But it's not about standings or rankings for this Indians team. Coach Tomas Martinez simply wants his team to make the playoffs and to see tough competition en route. Even if they are capable of doing so, finishing with a perfect season is far from a goal for Martinez and his team.
"We haven't had a blowout game all year and we don't want one," Martinez said. "At this point we'll take close games all the time and I'll take a couple losses here and there to make us better for the playoffs."
Cheyenne Mountain is back in action Thursday when they No. 5 Lewis-Palmer. Sand Creek will also be back in action Thursday when they travel to Air Academy.
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