To close out its regular season, Regis could have taken the safe route and played what one would consider an easy opponent.
Coach Billy Corbett, however, didn’t think that would do much good, so he went in the opposite direction.
When asked if he’d be up for playing perennial powerhouse Cherry Creek in the regular season finale, Corbett was all for it.
And, while the Raiders came up short against the Bruins, 11-8 on May 4 at the Stutler Bowl, the game could very well have lasting affects on Corbett’s team.
“I’ve never seen the team so happy after a loss,” said Corbett, whose team finished up a strong regular season with a 13-2 record. They won the Continental League title for the first time with a perfect 6-0 mark.
“Cherry Creek is the cream of the crop and we were right there with them the entire game.
“I think this gives the girls a lot of confidence.
“When we started the season, the goal was just to make the playoffs. Now, the goal is to not just make the playoffs, but to go further in the playoffs.”
The Raiders fell behind 4-1 early in the first half, but rallied and trailed just 5-4 at halftime.
Erin Sungelo scored the first of her two goals 33 seconds into the second half to even the game.
Cherry Creek (14-1) responded with a pair of goals from senior Anya Gersoff, and while they could never push its advantage past two goals, were able to answer every Regis challenge the remainder of the second half to hold the lead.
The Bruins relied on strong defense and the play of goaltender Cassidy Chaney, who finished with 10 saves.
“Cassidy played really well and the defense was good in front of her,” Cherry Creek coach Cayel Dwyer said.
“They really were the difference in the game.”
Like the Raiders, the Bruins chose to go the difficult route with their schedule-making.
“Our season was really back-loaded with a lot of good teams, and that was done on purpose,” Dwyer said. “There’s a lot of teams that could (win the state title), so for us to get a good look at them is a good thing as we get ready to enter the playoffs.”
Sungelo scored with 3:44 to play to draw Regis within 9-8, but were unable to push another goal across. Cherry Creek’s Elsie Humes and Tori Link scored 53 seconds apart to give the Bruins a bit of breathing room in the final two minutes.
4 4 — 8
Cherry Creek 5 6 — 11
Goals-Assists: Regis: Erin Schilmoeller 2-0, Kathryn Blumhardt 2-0, Erin Sungelo 2-0, Courtney Gielow 1-0, Kellen Foster 1-0. Cherry Creek: Tori Link 2-1, Elsie Humes 1-0, Stephanie Guerra 0-1, Blair Sisk 2-0, Bryn Bandt-Law 2-1, Mara Bandt-Law 0-2, Anya Gersoff 4-0. Saves: Regis: Emi Smith 8. Cherry Creek: Cassidy Chaney 10.