Girls Soccer: Freshman Yount, Buffaloes score huge 3-2 win over Cherry Creek

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GREENWOOD VILLAGE | A great season for the Smoky Hill girls soccer team got even better Tuesday, when the Buffaloes vanquished Cherry Creek 3-2 at Village Green Park.

Coach Andy Colella hadn’t beaten the powerhouse Bruins in his five years with the Smoky Hill program, but goals by junior Candace Cephers, senior Michaela Herrmann and freshman Brynell Yount — whose first of the season turned out to be the game-winner — got the job done.

Yount drew a foul that resulted in a penalty kick for Herrmann and then gave the Buffaloes a two-goal edge in the second half by scoring on a header and they held off a late Cherry Creek charge to improve to 9-3 overall and 5-2 in the Centennial League. The victory assured Smoky Hill of second place in the league in Class 5A playoff seeding.

“We haven’t beaten them since I’ve been coaching, so it’s been awhile,” Colella said. “We only lost 1-0 to Arapahoe and played every bit as well as they did, so right now we’re feeling pretty confident that if we go out there and play hard, we can beat anybody.”

Smoky Hill was already off to a strong start, but after a 1-0 loss to Eaglecrest, Colella opted to make some lineup changes to capitalize on the speed he had on the roster. Part of shuffling included inserting a pair of freshmen — Yount and Madison Watts — and the results have been immediate.

The Buffs played toe-to-toe with 11-1 Arapahoe before losing 1-0 and then took down a Cherry Creek team that hadn’t even allowed them to score a single goal in the past three meetings — winning 1-0 last season, 4-0 in 2010 and 1-0 in 2009.

That changed early in the first half alone when the Buffs were awarded a penalty kick when Yount was taken down by a Cherry Creek defender and Bruins starting goalkeeper Cathlin Murphy as she approached the goal. A collision between the three took Murphy out of the game. Herrmann converted the penalty kick.

Cephers notched her 15th goal of the season and Smoky Hill took a 2-1 lead into the lockerroom after Essence LaNeir got Cherry Creek on the scoreboard.

Yount padded the Buffs’ lead with header from about 15 feet out that snuck over Bruins backup goalkeeper Alex Kahalley and nestled into the net.

“Brynell is at an elite level when it comes to her speed and fitness; she’s one of those kids that just has it,” Colella said. “Her soccer skills are continuing to develop in terms of touch and technique, but her athletic ability is such an asset that it puts her in position where she can make plays happen.”

Smoky Hill needed the extra goal as Cherry Creek got a big strike goal from Sara Feder with a few minutes to play.

The Buffs and goalie Rileigh Ladyga turned back the Bruins’ fierce pressure until the final whistle.

Colella admits he is often confused by how teams are seed for the postseason, but believes no matter what happens in Smoky Hill’s last two games — against visiting Grand Junction April 27 and at Bear Creek on May 3 — the Buffs should get a top-16 seed and a first-round home game to open the 5A playoffs.

Two wins and an 11-3-1 record out of the Centennial League might get Smoky Hill a top-8 seed, which would allow it to play at least two home games in the postseason. All three of the Buffaloes’ losses are 1-0 decisions — to 4A powerhouse Broomfield in the season opener, to Eaglecrest in double overtime and to Arapahoe.

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555

SMOKY HILL 3, CHERRY CREEK 2

Score by halves:

Smoky Hill      2  1 — 3

Cherry Creek  1  1 — 2

Goals — Smoky Hill (3): Candace Cephers, Michaela Herrmann, Brynell Yount; Cherry Creek (2): Sara Feder, Essence LaNeir. Assists — Smoky Hill (2): Rebecka Harling, Julie Woodworth.