Palmer Ridge beats Colorado Academy to reach field hockey final

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DENVER - Palmer Ridge put an end to Colorado Academy's championship streak with the hopes of starting one of its own.

Senior goalie Keelin Broeker ruined the Mustangs' state reign with a regal performance of her own, and sophomore Jordyn Ray-Isner scored late to help end the Bears' longstanding postseason agony against Colorado Academy with a 1-0 win in the state field hockey semifinals Tuesday at All-City Stadium.

The Mustangs had won four straight state championships.

"It is the end of a dynasty," Palmer Ridge coach Paul Lewis said. "They've been dominant."

The No. 2 Bears (13-2-2) put to rest a postseason funk against the No. 3 Mustangs (12-3-2) that had lasted five years.

They were eliminated by the state's second-winningest program in the semifinals in 2015, 2013 and 2011, and in the state title game in 2014 and 2012.

Their third title game appearance will come against the state title leader Thursday: Top seed Kent Denver, which already has nine.

"We don't have any more room for second-place trophies," Lewis cracked.

Palmer Ridge went ahead with 10:56 remaining off a short corner. The ball bounced around in the box, off legs and sticks and on through to Kyra Rothwell. She set up Ray-Isner for the score.

"I didn't even know if it went in or not because I couldn't see because the goalie was blocking," Ray-Isner said of one of the biggest goals in program history. "But everyone was cheering so I knew that it had happened."

Broeker muted the Mustangs' comeback attempt with her 13th shutout of the season. The senior split time in net last year and had started every game on the bench over her first three years of high school.

"I felt like I kind of proved myself to them," said Broeker, who finished with nine saves.

The Bears couldn't solve CA keeper Bridget Sutter for much of the night.

Liz Phillips, Emily Munn and Shannon Snediker led a relentless attack for Palmer Ridge, but slight misses made it look as though the Bears would come up short.

"We're always sweating every corner, every play, every hit out of the backfield," Lewis said.

Palmer Ridge snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Mustangs earlier in the year, then played them to a draw two weeks later.

This wasn't a team about to let that momentum slip.

"Every season we train to win state but CA has been an obstacle for us," Munn said. "This year we trained specifically to beat this team."