AURORA | Alesia Garcia faced a situation she’d never encountered before Tuesday night, but like any great goal scorer, she took advantage.
The lethal Cherokee Trail senior blasted home a point blank chance on a short pass from senior Haley O’Nan on an indirect free kick directly in front of Chatfield’s goal to give the second-seeded Cougars a 2-1 victory in a Class 5A girls soccer state first round playoff game.
Garcia also had the first goal of the game for coach Jeremy Schaller’s Cherokee Trail team, which saw its early advantage disappear when the 27th-seeded Chargers poked in a loose ball late in the opening half.
The teams played a scoreless second half — though both had shots that bounced off the goalpost — and were deadlocked for the first half of the first overtime session until Chatfield goalie Abby Wilkinson illegally picked up a backward pass from a teammate, resulting in an indirect free kick for Cherokee Trail.
With the goal jammed with Chargers players and the ball just a few feet away, O’Nan tapped a pass out in the center to Garcia, who ripped a shot up the middle and past Wilkinson to send the Cougars into the second round.
Sophomore goalkeeper Paige Hickman made nine saves for Cherokee Trail (13-3).
Cherokee Trail will play host to 11th-seeded Cherry Creek — a 4-2 winner over No. 22 Prairie View — at 7:45 p.m. May 11.
The Cougars joined Aurora’s two other first-round winners — No. 1 Grandview and No. 29 Regis Jesuit — in the group of 16 teams left standing.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports
(6) CHEROKEE TRAIL 2, (27) CHATFIELD 1 (OT)
Score by halves:
Chatfield 1 0 0 — 1
Cher. Trail 1 0 1 — 2
Cherokee Trail goals: Alesia Garcia 2