DES MOINES — After serving three years in a back-up role, Carlie Knoll flourished in her first season as Denver’s starting goalkeeper — stabilizing the Cyclones’ defense during a run to the state soccer tournament.
Among Knoll’s signature moments was a midseason penalty-kick shootout victory over a North Scott team ranked No. 1 in Class 2A at the time.
When the opportunity presented itself again Thursday during the opening round of the Class 1A state tournament, Knoll embraced the challenge. Yet, it was Nevada goalkeeper Grace Francis who matched the Cyclone senior with a couple clutch stops of her own.
In the end, Nevada’s Kacie Rewerts buried her go-ahead attempt into the upper corner as Denver’s breakthrough season came to an end by a 4-3 shootout tally that followed 100 minutes in which the two teams battled to a 1-1 draw.
The victory moved Nevada (14-4) into the semifinal round for a sixth consecutive season, while Denver (17-4) has now been defeated in the quarterfinals of the program’s two state tournament appearances.
“This has been an amazing opportunity for us and really great for Denver soccer,” Denver