Dakota Ridge leads Lutherans for state title
COMMERCE CITY — Going into the 2023 season, there were no stats to be found on Dakota Ridge senior Bailey Pignatore. After Tuesday night, however, here are two: She scored her 18th goal of the campaign and won the deciding game in the Class 4A state title game. Not too bad for a year of high school football.
The forward, who will play Texas Wesleyan in college, scored the game-clinching goal as the Eagles beat Lutheran to claim their first title since 2003. The pandemic-cancelled season was followed by two injuries for Pignatore, including one hip and ACL. She entered the season under no pressure and at the start of the second half scored a goal from a set piece to put the game away at 2-0.
“I’ve been waiting for this for so long and especially to do it with girls I’m so close to, it’s a dream,” Pignatore said. “…On goal, we all run to different places to try and confuse the team and the goalkeeper and whoever has a header on it gets a header on it. I was lucky to be that person. »
Dakota Ridge (18-1) took the lead on an unfortunate rebound. In the second minute of the game, a routine back pass was played to Lutheran junior goaltender Bissett Bussey. She had her foot lifted too high and the ball slipped under to give Dakota Ridge a 1-0 lead. His teammates came to cheer him on and keep fighting.
Although they continued the game for the rest of the first half, the Lions (17-2), who made their first appearance in the women’s football league in the history of the program, managed to create a certain number of chances with seven shots, including three on target. The best chance came in the 23rd minute when Rachel Robinson attempted a volley just inside the penalty area, but it was saved by Eagles goalkeeper Kassidy Spencer. The teams entered the break with the Eagles holding a 1-0 lead.
“You can never prepare for this. You never know what can happen, you can plan and do anything, but anything can go wrong, but that’s what we love about the game,” Lutheran head coach Ashleigh Fitterer said. “You can fight and enjoy it and we did that.”
As the Lions pushed for an answer, the Eagles defense didn’t break, as they fended off chance after chance even as the Lutherans edged past them 13-5. The Eagles got to see the game and held on to a second successive shutout en route to the title.
Class 3A Final: Jefferson Academy 3, Manitou Springs 0
After a scoreless first half, the Jaguars put on a show in the second half of the Class 3A Championship game with three goals to end an emphatic 18-2 season.
The Jaguars, who finished the season on a 14-game unbeaten streak, upped their game in the second half and looked more like harriers in their high press.
As a result, they created plenty of chances. University of Tennesee striker Kate Runyon struck twice in the space of ten minutes as she opened the scoring in the 48th minute and virtually ended the game in the 58th. Allie Jo Kirkpatrick, who will play Division II soccer at Concordia St. Paul University, added a late third to secure the victory.
Jefferson Academy beat opponents 34-2 en route to a second women’s soccer state title and first since 2018. This was the Jaguars’ fifth all-time state title.
Class 2A: Colorado Springs Christian 3, Fountain Valley 1
In order to win a first title in program history, Colorado Springs Christian came from behind to do so. Trailing 1-0 at the break, the Lions scored three goals in the second half.
The six-seeded Lions (14-5) got goals from Christina Huerta (43rd minute), Ella Salsbery (59th) and Wilna Colopy (64th). Fountain Valley’s Briityn Lybecke scored his 30th goal of the campaign in the final minute of the first half. While the Lions suffered five losses during the season, all of them came against bigger seeding teams, including 3A runners-up Manitou Springs and 4A Lutheran.