LONGMONT — The result was great for the Longmont High School girls soccer team. But its path to success was frustrating.
The Trojans defeated Cheyenne East, 1-0, Saturday morning. Cheyenne East’s Vanessa Gallegos hit the ball with her hand in the penalty area in the seventh minute of overtime, and Longmont’s Jenna Peeples buried the ensuing penalty kick for the golden goal.
Longmont goalie Noelle Arnaud was rarely tested, but handled everything that came her way. The Trojans spent most of the morning possessing the ball, generating more scoring chances than Cheyenne East. And the win improved Longmont to 2-0.
Still, once it finally ended, Longmont coach Megan Beasley did not exactly turn cartwheels as she looked forward to her team’s date Tuesday with Windsor.
“I don’t think that we played our best soccer today,” Beasley said.
“I think our frustration today was not in the fact that we could not score. It was in the way we were playing. The girls know they are better than the way we were playing today.”
Longmont’s scoring chances improved as the game passed. Late in regulation, Rachel Hobson narrowly missed on a couple. Cheyenne East goalie Megan Johnson denied Peeples on another chance 14 seconds before the end of the second half. And in the first overtime, a free kick from just outside the box by Longmont’s Bryanna Daniels skimmed Cheyenne East’s cross bar.
But Longmont did not convert, which might have appeased the coach.
Beasley said she has a young team that’s recovering from the loss of several seniors. Last year’s group went 8-6-1 and possessed an abundance of personality and leadership skills, she said.
Beasley also said she’s using three freshmen and that a few of her girls are adjusting to high school soccer, which, unlike club ball, forces younger players to face older ones.
The way Beasley described it, Longmont is a team with much to learn.
“This group is really trying to figure out who will step up and fill those voids,” Beasley said.
Perhaps the biggest positive Beasley takes from Saturday’s win is that what she stresses in practice is making sense to her players. Things like team defense, positioning off the ball and field awareness are becoming less foreign concepts, she said.
“So I do think we are progressing,” Beasley said.
Said Peeples: “Last year we had more leaders and it helped us to go farther and get us pumped up before games. And I think we had a lot of talent last year. We have talent this year. I just think it needs to get put together.”