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Palmer Ridge cruises in field hockey semifinals
DENVER • In front of a smear of shivering umbrellas, Palmer Ridge, like the blowing snow, was relentless Wednesday at All City Stadium.
The Bears (15-2, No. 3) laid it on thick against No. 7 St. Mary’s Academy in the state field hockey semifinals, winning 5-0, setting up a date with No. 1 Colorado Academy in Monday’s championship game.
The night could be described in one shot.
After the game, the snow-covered field was cut in two. One side was powdered with a fresh blanket of white snow. The other side was trampled into the gray slop you’d find on the side of a highway — that’s the side Palmer Ridge was attacking.
The Bears scored thrice in the first 30 minutes and added two in the second half, wrapping up their ninth shutout of the season and first state championship appearance in the program’s seven-year history.
“We thought we had a good chance to win it last year,” said Bears coach Paul Lewis, whose 2011 team lost to Colorado Academy in the semifinals. “To do it now with such a younger team is awesome.”
To Lewis’ surprise, it wasn’t a rebuilding year after all even though his team lost 15 of its 17 varsity players.
“Yeah, well it was a little surprising at the beginning of the year to see them play like they did,” said Lewis, a former U.S. team member. “But now, I know they can be here, doing this.”
Daelynn Demello scored her first of two when she slapped a rebound into the net midway through the first half to take the 1-0 lead.
Then, she capped it off with batted grounder to end the half at 3-0.
Jessica Berg followed, scoring her league-high 21st goal to keep the rout going in the second half.
In goal, and bored for that matter, Cheradyn Pettit and Allison Raphael went a half each.
“Our defense was good — but it was good last year,” Lewis said. “This year we are finding the net when we didn’t last year.”