Carty Kingsbury and her Windsor teammates refuse to hang their heads after dramatic loss in state soccer finals – Greeley Tribune

COMMERCE CITY — Most who watched Windsor’s girls soccer title game Tuesday against Northfield would have been at least somewhat surprised — if not outright shocked — by the way the game unfolded in the final moments.

After the Wizards dominated much of the match — particularly in the second half — the seventh-seeded Nighthawks edged top-seeded Windsor in a shootout, 4-3, after a scoreless 110 minutes of regulation and two overtimes in the Class 4A soccer girls finals .

As surprising as the final result may have been, there was nothing surprising about how the Wizards conducted themselves moments after the heart-breaking loss, according to veteran coach Mike Lordemann.

In short, they conducted themselves like champions, Lordemann said, even as they hoisted the state runner-up trophy.

COMMERCE CITY, CO – MAY 24:Windsor’s Abby Bush (16) heads the ball during the Windsor Wizards 4A girls soccer state championship match against the Northfield Nighthawks at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City May 24, 2022. The Wizards fell to the Nighthawks in a penalty kick shootout 4-3 after regulation and two overtimes left the teams tied 0-0. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

They congratulated their opponent. They showed immense gratitude to their legions of fans. And, perhaps most importantly, they comforted each other on the heels of the most emotional loss of any of their high school girls soccer careers.

Again, unsurprisingly, Windsor senior midfielder Carty Kingsbury, was at the forefront, delivering a passionate, uplifting message to her teammates before they broke the huddle.

“It couldn’t be more fitting coming from Carty Kingsbury,” Lordemann said. “Great teams are player-led. And, we have great leadership in our program. And, that’s only indicative of how Carty handled (the loss) at the end. Don’t let one moment define what a truly great season we had.”

Windsor finished its season with a 17-3 record, going 10-0 in a tough 4A/5A Northern Conference. They outscored their opponents 70-12.

COMMERCE CITY, CO - MAY 24:Windsor's Leyah Scott (1) gets her fingers on the ball but can't quite stop it during the penalty kick shootout during the Windsor Wizards 4A girls soccer state championship match against the Northfield Nighthawks at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City May 24, 2022. The Wizards fell to the Nighthawks in a penalty kick shootout 4-3 after regulation and two overtimes left the teams tied 0-0.  (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)COMMERCE CITY, CO – MAY 24: Windsor’s Leyah Scott (1) gets her fingers on the ball but can’t quite stop it during the penalty kick shootout during the Windsor Wizards 4A girls soccer state championship match against the Northfield Nighthawks at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City May 24, 2022. The Wizards fell to the Nighthawks in a penalty kick shootout 4-3 after regulation and two overtimes left the teams tied 0-0. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

Lordemann — in his third season coaching the Wizards — knows what it likes to coach champions. He coached two of them — in 2003-04 — during his 29 years at the helm of Greeley West’s girls soccer program.

Yet, it would be tough to imagine Lordemann being any more proud of a team — state champions or not — than he was of his Windsor squad as it wrapped up a memorable season Tuesday night.

“I just told our team this, ‘The score doesn’t reflect it. But, I really felt like we played the perfect game,’” Lordemann said. “This is a sport that is cruel. And, not always does the score of the game reflect how well we played. … I couldn’t be more proud of this group. And, in my heart and in my mind, they are champions.”

Though, naturally, some tears flowed after Tuesday’s championship game loss, Kingsbury — and many of her teammates — wore smiles on their faces moments after the match.

COMMERCE CITY, CO - MAY 24:Windsor head coach Mike Lordemann speaks to his team after the Windsor Wizards 4A girls soccer state championship match against the Northfield Nighthawks at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City May 24, 2022. The Wizards fell to the Nighthawks in a penalty kick shootout 4-3 after regulation and two overtimes left the teams tied 0-0.  (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)COMMERCE CITY, CO – MAY 24: Windsor head coach Mike Lordemann speaks to his team after the Windsor Wizards 4A girls soccer state championship match against the Northfield Nighthawks at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City May 24, 2022. The Wizards fell to the Nighthawks in a penalty kick shootout 4-3 after regulation and two overtimes left the teams tied 0-0. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

For Kingsbury, she wasn’t just smiling knowing she has plenty more competitive soccer in her future. She is bound for Texas Tech University, where she’ll play Division I women’s soccer in the Big 12 Conference.

Rather, Kingsbury put on a brave face and soaked in her final moments in a Windsor Wizards uniform alongside likely some of the closest teammates she’ll ever have in her athletic career.

“I just wouldn’t choose any other team to be with,” Kingsbury said. “We played our hearts out tonight, and I have no regrets. We love each other. And, whether we win or lose, it doesn’t define us. We love each other through it.”

And as nice as it would have been winning that title game Tuesday, Kingsbury and her teammates certainly won’t be without a tale of championship-level persistence and competitiveness to perhaps one day tell their children.

COMMERCE CITY, CO - MAY 24:Windsor's Carty Kingsbury (9) heads the ball off of a corner kick during the first half of the Windsor Wizards 4A girls soccer state championship match against the Northfield Nighthawks at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City May 24 , 2022. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)COMMERCE CITY, CO – MAY 24:Windsor’s Carty Kingsbury (9) heads the ball off of a corner kick during the first half of the Windsor Wizards 4A girls soccer state championship match against the Northfield Nighthawks at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City May 24 , 2022. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

Tuesday’s game provided everything one would want from a championship game, with neither team relenting for the first 110 minutes, with a dramatic shootout being the only way to settle the affair between two supremely evenly matched teams.

The epic match created memories perhaps stronger than Windsor had dominated its way to a lopsided win, as it has so many times this season.

“I loved this matchup,” Kingsbury said. “It was such a good matchup, and it was such a fun game to play in. And, I’m so thankful for this stadium that we’re in. I couldn’t be more thankful, honestly. God has put the most supportive people around me — the best teammates, the best coaches, my family. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Bobby Fernandez covers high school sports for the Greeley Tribune. Reach him at (970) 392-4478, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BobbyDFernandez.

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