Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Jaylie Ross saved more than a penalty kick; she saved a season.
Ross, the senior goalkeeper for the Bayfield Wolverines, turned back a penalty kick from Buena Vista’s leading scorer with 17 minutes to play, then made four point-blank saves down the stretch to protect the Wolverines’ historic 2-1 soccer playoff victory Wednesday afternoon.
Her last save came with less than a minute to play when Buena Vista all-stater Kinsey Cichowitz – remember that name – was denied yet again when Ross blocked her rocket from inside the penalty box.
“Jaylie was amazing,” said Bayfield senior Keenan Moreta, who scored the Wolverines’ second and deciding goal Wednesday. “It’s crazy how good she is.”
“Jaylie is definitely an inspiration to everyone on the team,” said Grace Harvey, a sophomore who put the Wolverines on the board with her goal in the first half off a corner kick.
“Even if someone scores against her, she (Ross) keeps her head up. She blew my mind (Wednesday),” Harvey said.
“Jaylie saved the game ... she’s the player of the game for sure,” Bayfield head coach Jen Zelinski said as the Wolverines celebrated their first playoff win in their first-ever home playoff game.
All of the Wolverines swarmed Ross, who made 11 saves in the frantic second half after BHS had extended a 1-0 halftime lead to 2-0 on Moreta’s goal.
Buena Vista pulled within 2-1 midway through the second half when the Demons were awarded a penalty kick for a Bayfield foul in the box on a corner kick.
Cichowitz, an explosive attacker who pressured the Bayfield defense throughout the match, converted the PK with a shot low right past Ross.
Just one goal down, the Demons upped the pressure and eventually drew another penalty kick. This time a Bayfield hand ball in the box drew the call.
Cichowitz lined up for another shot against Ross.
“On the second one (PK), I figured she would go the same direction because she knew I didn’t dive that way the first time,” Ross said.
“The first time, she looked one way ... and kicked the opposite way. I figured the same exact thing would happen this time, and it did,” said Ross, whose dramatic save drew a huge ovation from the large crowd at Wolverine Country Stadium. She also had to save a rebound shot by Cichowitz after the PK save.
“That was good for ... our momentum. We were really down after the first penalty kick,” said Ross, daughter of Gene and Jamie Carlson.
“That got everyone really pumped,” she said.
Ross had more bailouts that Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner combined.
“I’ve never had so much action in one single match ... a lot of pressure, but a lot of fun,” Ross said.
She credited her defense against the improved second-half attack of Buena Vista (8-4-0).
“And Sanna (Penton) was able to shut down No. 22, who was their playmaker, their goal scorer, their everything,” Zelinski said of the challenge presented by Cichowitz.
“Sanna .. and the whole defense did an outstanding job,” the BHS coach said.
Penton, the foreign-exchange student from Sweden, hounded Cichowitz relentlessly in the second half of the physical match, which featured a number of fouls and a yellow card for Penton.
She helped set up Bayfield’s first goal when she blasted a long direct kick on goal that led to a corner kick for the Wolverines in the 19th minute.
Before Jaida Ross could take the corner kick, Zelinski subbed in Harvey, a sophomore.
“Grace does a great job of being in the right place at the right time, which she proved (Wednesday),” Zelinski said of the timely substitution.
For Harvey, her first touch of the match produced a goal.
“Coach said to go in and work hard ... I stayed back (on the corner kick), and I just volleyed it in,” said Harvey, the daughter of Marian and Alan Tome.
“I was shocked ... I didn’t even realize it went in at first,” she said after converting the corner from Jaida Ross.
Bayfield’s second goal came on a picture-perfect break early in the second half, starting with a through ball to Moreta from Effie Nistler.
“It was a very good ball Effie played to me ... it was perfect,” said Moreta, daughter of Colleen and Tony Moreta. “All I could think about was composure. I tried to place it ... tapped it into the corner.”
The goal was the 75th of Moreta’s career, a Bayfield High School record for the senior who will play at Otero Junior College in La Junta next year.
The goal and Ross’ saves combined to send the Wolverines into the second round of the CHSAA Class 3A Girls Soccer State Championships.
BHS (15-0-1) will play at No. 8 Colorado Academy on Saturday in Denver. Colorado Academy (10-4-2) defeated No. 25 Basalt 6-0 on Wednesday in their first-round playoff game.