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Publish Date: 4/20/2005

Skyline High School junior midfielder Nikki Marshall, left, tries to dribble past Longmont’s Amber Wade during Tuesday’s game. Marshall scored her 20th goal of the season on a header in the first half.Times-Call/Erin McCracken

Longmont’s hopes alive

LONGMONT — No one could tell how Longmont High School sweeper Rachel Hobson knocked in the game-winning goal.

“I think she used her stomach,” teammate Katie Beckmann said of the goal that allowed the Trojans to knock off Skyline, 2-1, on Tuesday at Everly-Montgomery Field.

Skyline coach Kevin Puckett saw it differently. Or he thought he did.

“Was it her knee?” Puckett asked. “I couldn’t tell for sure.”

Some guessed Hobson scored using her shin, while others thought it was her thigh.

Let’s go to the source. She can settle this debate.

“Hip,” Hobson said with a smile. “I used my hip. It hit my hip and went in. It doesn’t always have to be pretty.”

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. And to Longmont, this goal was as gorgeous as they come. Midfielder Jenna Peeples lofted a pass into the penalty box on a restart during the 64th minute, and Hobson simply hipped it into the net.

“It was a great goal,” Longmont coach Megan Beasley said. “It makes me look smart. Just before she scored, I was yelling at her to get up there and be aggressive. She did just that.”

Hobson’s goal may have saved Longmont’s season, and, at the same time, ended Skyline’s year.

Both teams were fighting for one of the eight playoff spots out of the Northern Conference, both sitting squarely on the fence. Longmont (6-4-2 overall, 2-2-2 conference) remains alive, but Skyline (4-7, 0-5) may have seen its streak of three straight playoff appearances come to an end.

“We’re done,” Puckett said.

About then — as if on cue — the stadium lights were turned out. The field was completely dark as Puckett made his way to the parking lot.

“It’s been a tough year for us,” Puckett said. “We played better, but it wasn’t enough.”

The Trojans scored first during the 19th minute on a corner kick by Beckmann. She lofted the ball into a gusty wind that had just picked up, and it curved right over the head of Skyline freshman goalie Melinda Kolm.

In other words, she bent it like Beckmann.

“The wind helped out,” Beckmann admitted. “Sometimes you get lucky.”

Skyline junior Nikki Marshall claimed the same thing when she scored the equalizer in the 39th minute. Marshall headed in a pass from stopper Lauren PerretGentil.

Just like Beckmann’s goal, it couldn’t have been executed any better.

“I had a great pass from Lauren,” Marshall said, “and then I just got lucky.”

If that’s the case, she’s been lucky a lot this season. Marshall has 20 goals this year, and is second in Class 4A scoring. She also leads the state in assists with 12.

But that was far from her mind Tuesday. She tried to put a finger on what went wrong this season for the Falcons.

“We didn’t come together as a team this year,” she said. “We didn’t play with desire.”

But Marshall saw that desire Tuesday.

“We played a lot better against Longmont,” said Marshall, whose team has dropped six in a row. “We had great effort.”

Same with Longmont. Call it a carryover from the Fossil Ridge game Saturday.

The Trojans ended that game in a scoreless tie, but they almost won it. The winning shot by Tarah Bailey was traveling into the net when the horn sounded. A fraction of a second more and Longmont walks away a winner. Maybe the Trojans did anyway?

“We took a step in the right direction against Fossil Ridge,” Beasley said. “This was another step forward. This was a very good win for us. The girls deserved this win.”

For Longmont to cement a playoff spot, the Trojans need to beat or tie top-ranked Broomfield on Friday. However, the Trojans can still afford a loss if Fossil Ridge drops one of its two remaining games.

“The situation is still kind of confusing right now,” Hobson said. “It still depends on a lot of factors. We just need to keep playing well.”

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