AURORA | Playing without two starting defenders eventually caught up to the Regis Jesuit field hockey team Friday night.
With two key backline members absent for service projects, the third-seeded Raiders still managed to keep No. 6 Denver East off the scoreboard for four quarters of their state quarterfinal playoff game at frigid Lou Kellogg Stadium, but they weren’t able to get a goal themselves in those 60 minutes.
That left it up to golden goal overtime and fatigue finally crept in, especially with play going to a more taxing six-on-six format in the extra period. Regis Jesuit got quality possession early in the extra period, but Denver East got the gamebreaking play on a breakaway by leading scorer Vivian Leuthold for a 1-0 upset victory.
“There was no doubt I didn’t think we were going to win that game,” Regis Jesuit coach Spencer Wagner said. “If you look at statistics — shots, time of possession — everything was going in our favor in that game. The only thing that didn’t was the end result, and that can happen in sports. …It had never happened to us before, but probability says the odds will sometimes be against you.”
The Angels (11-3-2) — who played Regis Jesuit to a 1-1 tie on Sept. 11 — advanced to an Oct. 30 semifinal matchup against No. 2 Cherry Creek (14-2) at All-City Stadium. The other semifinal pits No. 5 St. Mary’s Academy (12-3-1) against No. 1 Colorado Academy (16-0).
For the first time since 2017, the state championship game won’t include the Raiders, who finished the season 10-4-2 overall. Regis Jesuit — which had made at least the semifinals in every season since 2016 — won state championships in 2018, 2020 and 2021, while it lost in the title game in 2019 and 2022.
The Raiders had their chances to make at least the Final Four, but had two late goals called off due to rules violations.
Junior Jane Rumpf ripped a shot into the back of the goal off a penalty corner chance in the fourth quarter, but it was waved off as it was an illegally high shot as the Rumpf was the first player to touch the ball after it was sent in by teammate Caroline Hughes.
Junior Hailey Cornell also put the ball into the goal in overtime, but she was not inside the shooting circle when she took the shot, thus negating the score.
“We had a perfect strategy, we worked the ball up the field and I don’t know how we lost it, but it went the other way,” Wagner said.
Shortly after that, Leuthold — who came into the game tied for third in the state in goals scored with 13 — took the ball off the stick of a Regis Jesuit defender who was trying to play it and raced in on the Raiders’ goal.
Regis Jesuit goalie Isabel Golding came out and got a stick on the ball, but Leuthold regained control, kept it away from a recovering Regis Jesuit defender and slipped it into the goal.
“We knew what to do against her, so that’s why we played a possession game to keep it away from her, but it didn’t work with the turnover,” Wagner said. “She was the most skilled player out there and the fastest one with the ball….That’s where it shows up not having our two senior defenders because they are our speed and there was probably some fatigue.”
Wagner was especially disappointed in the loss because the Raiders would have had incentive in the semifinals against Cherry Creek — which dealt Regis Jesuit one of its only losses during the regular season — and they performed very well against Colorado Academy in the last game of the regular season, which encouraged them if the teams had both made it to the championship game.
But the program now moves on without a group of 11 seniors — including leading scorer Sydney Cornell, who finished with 11 goals — and will see another large group of young talent take positions of prominence for a program that has become very adept at developing players from season to season.
“The juniors are already talking about next year, so I have no doubt that we will rebound, it will just hurt tonight,” he said.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at email@example.com. Twitter/X: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2023 STATE FIELD HOCKEY QUARTERFINALS
Oct. 27 at Lou Kellogg Stadium
(6) DENVER EAST 1, (3) REGIS JESUIT 0 (OT)
Score by quarters:
Denver East 0 0 0 0 1 — 1
Regis Jesuit 0 0 0 0 0 — 0
Denver East — Vivian Leuthold, 8:13