Girls Soccer: Grandview stunned by Mountain Vista in Class 5A semifinals in shootout

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Grandview junior goalkeeper Reagan McCombs, left, reacts as Mountain Vista players celebrate following a conversion on a final penalty kick that lifted the Golden Eagles past the Wolves in a Class 5A girls state soccer playoff semifinal on May 20, 2017, at Legacy Stadium. Grandview’s quest to win a third straight 5A state championship game came to an end. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Ask any coach about the game of soccer and they call it a cruel game.

There’s nothing crueler about the sport than how a game ends when no team wins it in regulation play. The dreaded penalty kicks that are used to break the tie ended up bringing to an end one of the greatest runs in Class 5A girls soccer May 20.

Coach Tari Wood’s Grandview team had itself in position for a shot at winning a third straight 5A state championship as they played in the semifinals against Mountain Vista at Legacy Stadium, only to end up on the agonizing short end of a 4-3 loss by penalty kicks.

“They didn’t beat us, they just win,” said Wood, summing up the situation succintly as the Golden Eagles advanced to the May 24 state championship game at Dick’s Sports Goods Park against Arapahoe, one of Grandview’s fellow Centennial League members.

Winners of the past two 5A state championships and a 36-game unbeaten streak that lasted until a loss to Regis Jesuit in the opening game of the regular season, Grandview had managed to avoid going to penalty kicks to decide a game.

The Wolves (13-4-2) weren’t challenged much during their dominating run, but when they were were, they always came through with a clutch goal in regulation or overtime if they needed, as senior captain Taylor Parker had done in a second round win over Fossil Ridge.

But that goal never came, despite a number of incredibly dangerous chances, especially in the second 15-minute overtime.

Almost magically, Mountain Vista goalie Baileigh Baker, a freshman, turned them away on at least three prime opportunities, while still another hit the crossbar and came out. That left the fate of the game up to penalty kicks, where the team game is decided based on individual matchups between players and goalkeepers for both teams.

Both teams converted their first PK chances with junior Natalie Beckman converting for the Wolves and Haley Scheppert tallying for the Golden Eagles.

Junior keeper Reagan McCombs gave Grandview the upper hand when she followed up Parker’s conversion with a save on Mountain Vista’s Avery Adams to put the Wolves in front 2-1 after two rounds.

Baker turned the tables immediately, however, when she stopped the attempt of Grandview’s Lindsi Jennings, while Jaelyn Hendren tied it up on the next kick against McCombs, who got a hand on it but couldn’t keep it out of the net.

Sophomore Kacy Johnston converted for Grandview and Mia Bonifazi matched for Mountain Vista, but Wolves’ junior Grace Hinder — who Wood says converts 100 percent of her PK chances in practice — hit her attempt right at Baker, who made the stop. Shelby Unruh stepped up and buried her shot to win it for the Golden Eagles.

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

(3) MOUNTAIN VISTA 0, (2) GRANDVIEW 0 (Mountain Vista wins on PKs)

Score by halves (PKs):

Mtn. Vista  0  0  (4) — 0

Grandview  0  0 (3) — 0