Athena Lopez scored in the third minute and Ariane Lukens' knocked in a corner kick in the 26th minute as top-seeded Faith Christian beat St. Mary's 2-1 Saturday in the 3A girls state championship game.
A year after surprisingly falling off the Class 3A map, the Faith Christian Eagles were returned to the state championship game for the third time in four years.
''It was fun this year,'' Lopez said.
Lopez was on the Eagles' 2006 finalist team and was one of two girls that missed a penalty kick in an overtime championship loss to Kent Denver. Lopez didn't play prep soccer last season, instead opting for track, while the Eagles failed to qualify for the playoffs.
The Eagles (14-3-2) put the Pirates from Colorado Springs on their heels through most of the first half, rolling with the momentum from Lopez's 21st goal of the season.
The Pirates (15-4-0), who were appearing in their second consecutive final, regrouped to dominate the second half and got a goal from Samantha Cardenas.
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