Shay Guetz's goal on a corner kick provided the margin of victory as Heritage recorded a 2-1 win over a determined Castle View squad April 15.
“For our young team to grind out a win in a league game is important,” Heritage coach Adam Buseck said. “I feel it helps up and sets us up to finish of the season.”
Castle View Coach Perry Glantz said the game was a heartbreaker for his team.
“It was a bit of a messy game for both teams tonight. They got a break on the corner kick and that was the difference,” Glantz said. “We will try to learn from this as we move on because we aren't done yet.”
Castle View, which bounced back by topping Chaparral in Continental League action April 17, 5-1, and beating Prairie View, 7-0, in non-league action April 19, entered the week at 6-3-1 overall and 3-3-1 in league play with the playoffs in sight. The Sabercats were scheduled to play at Valor Christian April 21 and at Mountain Vista April 23 before finishing out the week with Rock Canyon at home on April 28.
Heritage (5-6, 4-3 Continental) fell to top-ranked Mountain Vista, 1-0, on April 17 and was scheduled to start the week April 22 at Highlands Ranch, before playing ThunderRidge April 24 at Littleton Stadium.
The April 15 contest between Heritage and Castle View saw the first half end in a scoreless tie. Heritage took six shots on goal and Castle View took five. Heritage's Ashleigh Maguire and Castle View's Danielle Williams both made key saves for their schools.
In one of the battles for control of the ball, Castle View senior Liz Franco, a leader on and off the field, suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
“Until we lost Liz, one of our strengths was our ability to control the ball in midfield area. Though we didn't get (any) goals, controlling midfield helped us set the tempo of play,” Glantz said. “That changed when Liz was injured. We had to shift around and change our shape. It changed how we played at midfield.”
The scoreless tie remained unresolved for 23 minutes of the second half and it was Heritage that struck first when Alex Peters pushed a pass down the right side of the field to Samantha Manelis. Manelis settled the ball about 25 yards from the goal and her hard line drive traveled into the left corner of the net, out of the reach of the diving Williams.
Castle View responded quickly, pushing an attack that penetrated into the area near the mouth of the goal. It was a scrum as Eagle defenders and Castle View attackers battled to control the ball but Sabercat Lindsay Iannone got a foot on the ball to drive a low, grass-clipping shot into the net.
Both teams pressed to break the tie, but it was Heritage that did so when the Eagles were awarded a corner kick with 5:31 left on the clock. Guetz took the corner, sending the ball arching near the mouth of the goal, and it slipped through in the scramble.
“If the kick curves toward the goal, it comes into the play area closer to the net like it did tonight,” she said, adding that she normally aims for the top of the penalty box. “I felt I hit the kick pretty well but I was surprised when it ended up in the goal. Scoring the goal made me feel pretty good, particularly since the goal came on senior night.”