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Palmer clinches state soccer berth with win over Rampart
When the final whistle sounded Thursday night, the Palmer players walked calmly off the field, hardly a celebration to be seen.
Quite surprising for a team that qualified for the playoffs in its season finale.
Margaret Stauffer’s 33rd-minute goal gave the Terrors a 1-0 win over Rampart and a berth in the Class 5A tournament. Yet the celebration was muted.
“That’s just kind of the group they are,” coach Jim Keller said. “They knew exactly what they had to do, and they did it.”
Stauffer scored the lone goal by redirecting a cross from Kalee Thompson.
“I saw Kalee get the cross off, and I got loose from everybody,” Stauffer said. “My goal is to put it in the goal.”
Palmer (8-7, 4-4 5A Metro) did a great job of limiting the Rams (9-6, 4-4) to five shots — four of them weak attempts and from distance.
Keller made some defensive switches before the game, moving Lauren Cross and Tinka Avramov to the outside.
“We’ve been having some breakdowns in our defense,” Cross said. “We were trying to keep it composed in the back. I think that helped us get it forward.”
Rampart’s best chance came with less than 3 minutes to play when striker Stephanie Cornell streaked down the right side. She broke into the box and fired a shot from about 10 yards. But Terrors goalie Andi Tostanoski made the save look easy.
“They definitely had some chances on goal that were dangerous,” Cross said. “But I think we kept our composure, and we handled it pretty well.”
They also handled a playoff berth pretty well — like it was old hat.
“I think it’s because we were really, really focused and expecting ourselves to win this game,” Stauffer said. “So it feels really good ... but it’s not a surprise.”
Cross said it was the Terrors’ own fault for waiting until the final day to clinch a spot.
“We put ourselves in that position,” the junior said. “It seems we play better when we have our backs against the wall.”