Girls Soccer: Late Lyubenko goal lifts Grandview over Smoky Hill, wraps up Centennial League championship

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Grandview sophomore midfielder Nicole Lyubenko (7) leaps into the air in celebration after her goal with just under 9 minutes left in regulation in a Centennial League girls soccer showdown between the Wolves and Smoky Hill played on April 27, 2015, at Legacy Stadium. Lyubenko's left-footed strike held up as the only goal of the game as Grandview posted a 1-0 victory and clinched the Centennial League championship in the process. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Grandview sophomore midfielder Nicole Lyubenko (7) leaps into the air in celebration after her goal with just under 9 minutes left in regulation in a Centennial League girls soccer showdown between the Wolves and Smoky Hill played on April 27, 2015, at Legacy Stadium. Lyubenko’s left-footed strike held up as the only goal of the game as Grandview posted a 1-0 victory and clinched the Centennial League championship in the process. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | The Grandview girls soccer team has piled up a lot of wins this season and Nicole Lyubenko has had a lot to do with many of them.

The sophomore midfielder netted her fourth game-winning goal of the season — and team-leading eighth overall — with just under nine minutes left in regulation and the Wolves’ defense took care of the rest on their way in a 1-0 victory over Smoky Hill Monday night at frigid Legacy Stadium in a rescheduled contest.

The victory wrapped up the Centennial League championship for coach Tari Wood’s team, which moved to 11-1-1 overall and 6-0 in league play with only a 5:30 p.m. contest on the same field against Overland Tuesday remaining. Grandview could suffer an unlikely loss to the Trailblazers and still finish atop the league standings as it holds the tiebreaker with current runner-up Cherokee Trail.

Grandview’s defense allowed just four shots on goal from dangerous Buffs striker Sam Howshar and company on its way to sixth consecutive shutout. Led by sophomores Taylor Parker and Jessica Hixson on the back line and senior Maddie Lesjak in goal, the Wolves haven’t allowed a goal since the first half of a two-0vertime win over Arapahoe on April 7.

Smoky Hill had a three-game winning streak snapped and coach Wes Post’s team now sits at 8-3-1 overall and 4-2 in league play.

Deadlocked with under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Lyubenko got a pass from Mandi Duggan as she streaked into the middle of the field. She hit the breaks and touched the ball to herself as a Smoky Hill defender flew past and struck a left-footed shot just out of the reach of diving Buffs goalkeeper Megan Kneefel into the corner of the net.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

GRANDVIEW 1, SMOKY HILL 0

Score by halves:

Smoky Hill  0  0 — 0

Grandview   0  1 — 1

SCORING

Second half

Grandview — Nicole Lyubenko (Mandi Duggan), 71st minute

Grandview saves: Maddie Lesjak (4 shots on goal-4 saves)