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Publish Date: 5/11/2005

Silver Creek’s Marinne Burnham battles Sand Creek’s Julie Bedee during the Raptors’ 9-0 win Tuesday at Silver Creek High School.Times-Call/Jason P. Smith

Silver Creek cruises to first playoff victory
Raptors move on to next round after drubbing Scorpions

LONGMONT — They listened to music, waited, warmed up, waited some more, watched a soccer tape, waited again, warmed up again and then finally finished what they started.

The Silver Creek soccer team had to endure two 30-minute lightning delays before finally drubbing Sand Creek, 9-0, on Tuesday in the opening round of the Class 4A state tournament.

The Raptors, who are the tournament’s ninth seed, will play the winner of today’s game between Montezuma-Cortez and Pueblo West. The date of the game has not been determined.

For Silver Creek, this was a historical victory. It’s the first time in school history the girls had won a playoff soccer game. They had been 0-for-2 with both losses being to teams from Pueblo (Centennial and South).

That’s why playing Pueblo West, the eighth seed of the tournament, would be intriguing.

But the lopsidedness of Silver Creek’s win may raise some eyebrows.

“I’d stop and pause at that,” Silver Creek coach Sarah Friend said. “But then I’d look into the history books and see that we haven’t historically done well with Pueblo teams.

“Whoever we play, we’ll be ready. We won’t roll over.”

Instead, they’ll just roll.

The Raptors turned this into a laugher long before the lightning entered the area. In fact, with the Raptors up 5-0 and 11 minutes until halftime, Sand Creek fans were looking toward the ominous skies and wondering aloud.

“Can we postpone and start all over again later?” a fan asked.

Nice try, but that wouldn’t have helped. Silver Creek’s speed simply overwhelmed the Scorpions.

And it wasn’t just one person, either. The Raptors had eight different players score.

They also scored every way imaginable — on a header (Becca Woods), off a corner (Kate Russell), through the goalie’s legs (Brooke Drobney), and with deft touches (Gabby Najera, Courtney Ewing, Maggie Pollack and Marinne Burnham).

“We had a lot of good passes,” said Woods, who had two goals and two assists. “I thought we played very well.”

Sand Creek’s goalies can vouch for that. The Scorpions went through three different keepers before finally going back to their starter.

“We finished well,” senior Hilary Smallwood said. “We have been struggling getting the ball into the net.”

Had been struggling, that is. It’s now in the past tense. There’s nothing like a nine-goal game to boost morale.

“We’re definitely finding our confidence again,” Friend said. “We needed a game like this.”

Well, without the lightning delays, of course. That was an adventure.

In the middle of halftime, the officials sent both teams inside. The Raptors spent the time listening to music.

After being called back out, lightning entered the area again. This time, the Raptors went into Friend’s classroom and watched highlights of their 2-1 win over Greeley Central on May 5th.

“I was worried about how we’d come out after the break,” Friend said.

She worried needlessly. The Raptors picked up where they’d left off in the first half.

“We played well, but we could’ve played better,” said Smallwood, who had a goal and an assist.

That begs the question — how? Silver Creek converted 9 of 15 shots on goal. The Raptors also limited the Scorpions to just four shots on goalie Jenny Hinman, who late in the game deflected a pair of shots off the crossbar.

“You can always play better,” Smallwood said.

Good point.

As Smallwood walked off the field, she felt a little wave of nostalgia hit her. This would probably be the last time she ever played a game on this field.

“It’s crummy, but I’m going to miss it,” she said. “It’s going to be sad never to be able to play here again.”

And then she brightened up.

“We got our first playoff win,” Smallwood said with a beaming smile. “This is very exciting.”

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