Doherty girls' soccer shuts out Rampart to take command of 5A CSML

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Photo - The Doherty girls soccer team celebrate their first goal of a game against Rampart at Garry Berry Stadium on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. The team scored a goal in each half and defeated Rampart 2-0.  Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
The Doherty girls soccer team celebrate their first goal of a game against Rampart at Garry Berry Stadium on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. The team scored a goal in each half and defeated Rampart 2-0. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

Despite rain and hail littering the Garry Berry Stadium field before kickoff, the Doherty girls' soccer team pleaded and chanted to be allowed to play Tuesday night.

The Spartans got their wish and then went out and beat Rampart 2-0 to claim sole possession of first place in the 5A Colorado Springs Metro League on what turned out to be a chilly but playable evening.

Jaelyn Brown scored both goals for the Spartans and goalie Riley Furbush made 10 saves for the shutout, a number of key ones in the first half when the game was scoreless.

"We were cheering, 'Play, play, play,' to our athletic director," said Brown, who notched a goal in each half. "We felt it, we knew it was coming. We were super, super pumped. We had really high hopes."

She opened the scoring in the 34th minute when she cut sharply to the left to beat a defender then blasted a shot in the lower left corner. Her second goal wasn't as pretty but it didn't need to be as Chaylaa Minniss' corner kick found Brown all alone and banked off Brown and into the goal in the 60th.

"I kind of just let it hit me, I didn't want to mess it up," Brown joked. "It was a great ball by Chaylaa."

The Spartans (6-5, 4-0 5A CSML) opened the season with five straight losses. Now that they are getting healthy and plenty of players are returning to form, the Spartans have reeled off six consecutive victories.

On Thursday, they'll put the win streak on the line against Pine Creek. If the Spartans win that, they'll wrap up a league title. If Pine Creek wins, the league is likely looking at a three-way tie and headed for a tiebreaker to determine a league champ.

Before they could worry about the Eagles, however, the Spartans had to get past Rampart (10-3, 4-1), which beat Pine Creek already.

"This year being an RPI year, I was scared," Doherty coach Craig Decker said about the early losses. "I was scared if we didn't come in the top two (in league) we wouldn't make playoffs."

Playoffs aren't a sure thing yet, but the Spartans have a much better chance with the win. The game almost didn't happen, starting 15 minutes late as athletic directors debated whether or not to play.

Decker had hoped the game would be postponed, worried about injuries. His players didn't feel the same way.

"They were like, 'No, Coach, we don't care, we are playing,'" Decker said. "They were really excited for this game."

The Rams' possession game led to chances throughout, including a great chance from in close in the 15th minute. But Furbush was up to that task and every other on the night.

"I think that is the best soccer we have played not only this year," said the Wyoming commit, "but I think that is the best soccer I have seen Doherty play in the four years I have played."

Furbush's play helped key Doherty's defense.

"She helps our back line stay composed," Decker said. "Our back line is very calm and her presence kind of calms things down."

Rampart coach Carisa Whitson was in no way disappointed in her team's play, just the final score.

"As I told the girls, it's the game of soccer," she said. "Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't. ... We had multiple opportunities at goal, but it hit a defender here, or a mishap here or there. Unfortunately they were able to capitalize on two of their opportunities to get it in the back of the net."