“Sports bring enjoyment, but they also bring heartache.”
That was the sentiment of coach Marian Miears on Sunday. Whilein recent years the Cody girls soccer team has experience the former with three state titles, on Saturday in Cheyenne the Fillies dealt with the latter as they finished runner-up to Lander in the 3A State Soccer Championship.
In a physical game that went into overtime, Cody lost 2-1.
“The end result doesn’t take away from the wonderful season we had,” Miears said. “Yes, it hurts and it’s hard to swallow, but we know we are a competitive group of girls. We live and learn from this.
“That’s one of the reasons I coach, it’s not always about winning but the experience along the way.”
The Fillies defeated Torrington in the first round and Worland in the semifinals to advance to the title game. Cody finished the season with a 15-2-1 record.
“We played our hearts out and left everything we had on the field,” Emma Nieters said. “I am disappointed with the outcome, but I know the younger girls are going to come back and lead the team next year. I’m very proud of my teammates.”
Lander had the momentum early on and created some scoring opportunities for itself while the Fillies were slower to get going.
“I feel like we couldn’t connect our passes and just tried to get the ball away from defense instead of playing the game we new we could,” Nieters said.
The Fillies held the Lady Tigers off until the 37th minute when they earned a free kick at the 21 that arched over goalie Isabelle Radokovich’s head.
The lead didn’t last long though as with just 29 seconds left in the half, Torrie Schutzman had a shot deflected by the goalie, who went down for the stop. Autumn Wilson and Aspen Kalkowski were both there to finish and Wilson was credited with the goal.
“It felt great to tie the game in the first half,” Schutzman said. “It gave us a lot of momentum going into halftime and into the second half.”
Cody did a better job controlling momentum in the second half and had shot opportunities on corner kicks and multiple free kicks but just couldn’t put one away and the game would go into overtime.
“There was no rhythm to the game so we couldn’t get any momentum or movement,” Miears said. “There was lots of stoppage for free kicks, goal kicks, throw-ins. I felt as if the ball wasn’t in play very much.”
The Fillies had some chances in the first OT as well, including two free kicks and back-to-back corners. With less than two minutes left in the half, Lander got past the defense on a throw-in and scored in the left corner to go up 2-1.
“They got a breakaway from a ball being deflected weird and they capitalized,” Miears said.
Cody couldn’t get anything going in the second overtime to equalize.
“The most important thing was we all gave it our all,” Schutzman said. “Although we came up short of what we wanted, we each tried our best and we just had an off game where Lander didn’t. Lander was able to capitalize when they needed it most and we couldn’t.
“I’ll just miss playing the game,” she added. “Soccer isn’t like any other sport and I’ll miss the atmosphere and the team aspect of it.”
One positive for the Fillies is most of the team returns next season.
“I feel like we had a great season,” Wilson said. “I’m super proud of our team and just how amazing we worked together. We’re going to take the necessary steps to be able to win next year.”
Cody 4, Worland 0
In the semifinals, the Fillies defeated the Lady Warriors for the third time this season, winning 4-0.
“I think we moved the ball really well and we had tons of amazing crosses and corner kicks,” Aspen Kalkowski said. “A lot of it was also our attitude going into the game. We weren’t going to let them win so we came out really hard.”
Cody had defeated Worland 6-0 and 4-0 during the regular season.
“We had played this team twice before so we knew their style of play,” Kalkowski said. “We also went into the game knowing that just because we have beat them twice before didn’t mean that we were going to beat them this time, so we made sure our intensity was super high.”
Cody’s first goal came in the 27th minute when Schutzman passed ahead to Kennedi Niemann for the goal.
“I think it took us a little bit to get into the game, but once we did we started playing as a team and controlling the ball,” Ally Boysen said.
Just before halftime the Fillies scored again. Niemann passed to Boysen for the goal in the 39th.
“I scored when Kennedi passed me the ball by a defender and I took a touch and shot it,” Boysen said. “We knew that Worland wasn’t going to make it easy going into it, we just focused on playing our game and taking some more shots.”
It didn’t take long for Cody to get going in the second half. Just five minutes in Autumn Wilson scored off an assist from Boysen.
“Our play today was great,” Miears said. “We listened and made some adjustment at half that worked well.”
In the 54th minute it was Boysen to Wilson again, who scored her second goal on a header.
“Kennedi sent me a ball up the wing and I made a run to beat one player and then crossed it into the middle,” Boysen said.
The game was held at North Cheyenne Community Park, the only grass field in the tournament.
“The field was definitely different to what we are used to,” Kalkowski said. “The field was very thick and it was pretty hard to run, which wore us out faster. But we adapted to it quickly and soon learned the power we needed to put on the balls to make them get where they need to go.”
Cody 8, Torrington 1
Cody easily defeated No. 4 Torrington 8-1 on Thursday morning to open the tournament on the Cheyenne South field.
“It felt really good to get our first state win,” Brittan Bower said. “I think at the beginning everyone had some nerves, and it took us a few minutes to get into our groove. But we figured it out and worked well together as a team.”
The Fillies didn’t waste any time getting on the board, scoring in the second minute. Schutzman had a corner kick headed in by Wilson.
“I think we came out ready to score and when we had opportunities we put them in the net,” Niemann said.
Three minutes later the Lady Trailblazers had a through ball that got behind the Filly defense to a one-on-one with Radakovich to tie the game.
“Torrington scored off of some minor miscommunications at the beginning of the game, but we were able to easily adjust and correct ourselves and as a result had a positive outcome to the game,” Bower said.
Cody did a better job containing Torrington from there on while also creating shots of its own. In the 20th minute Wilson scored again on another header to make it 2-1.
Eight minutes later, Niemann traveled up the right side for a shot to make it 3-1.
“Torrie sent a perfect ball right through the line and I just kept dribbling until I had an angle to the corner,” she said. “Any goal scored today really helped our energy.”
Cody’s final goal of the half came in the 35th when Allie Broussard took a shot that was blocked, but not corralled by the keeper. With her out of position, Molly Hays scored into an open net to give Cody a 4-1 halftime lead.
“We came out flat with a few nerves,” Miears said of the first half. “But they played great in the second half. We had lots of shooting opportunities.”
The Fillies once again got off to a fast start in the second with Boysen scoring on a shot from the right side in the 41st minute.
“Right off the bat we were aggressive, which helped us get some early goals,” Bower said.
In the 46th, Wilson got a hat trick. She traveled up the left side and angled it into the right corner.
“We played the ball really well through their flat line, creating a ton of breakaways,” Niemann said.
Boysen earned her second goal in the 58th with an outside shot from the left side. Two minutes later Schutzman scored the final goal with a shot from the right side of the box into the left corner of the net.