Wheat Ridge can’t stop Valor from taking first 4A Jeffco title

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LAKEWOOD — Valor Christian’s girls soccer team showed May 2 it knows how to respond.

The Eagles, No. 1 seed for the upcoming Class 4A state tournament, suffered their first loss April 29 getting shutout 1-0 by defending 5A state champion Grandview. It was the first game Valor had been held scoreless all season.

Valor (13-1, 7-0 in 4A Jeffco) answered May 2, at Lakewood Memorial Field scoring seven goals in the span of under 20 minutes to defeat No. 2-seeded Wheat Ridge, 7-3.

“As you saw today, we have so much talent,” said Valor senior Tess Boade, who had a pair of goals for the Eagles. “I’m so excited for playoffs.”

Valor was also excited to win its first girls or boys soccer conference title in the history of the school.

“It’s huge,” Boade said. “We’ll get to hang a banner in the gym. That will be awesome.”

Wheat Ridge (13-2, 6-1) was attempting to defend its league title, but couldn’t hold off the Eagles’ scoring attack once it got rolling.

Wheat Ridge actually scored 25 seconds into the game when junior Rylie Pachello put one past Valor goalie Mackenzie Egan. It wasn’t until the 29th minute that the Eagles would get their first goal.

“We certainly didn’t script it that way,” Valor coach Brian Shultz said of Wheat Ridge scoring in the first minute of play. “I’m really proud of the girls composure to bounce back from that.”

Boade and sophomore Cori Dyke scored 3 minutes apart to give Valor a 2-1 lead. Wheat Ridge senior Alex Nillen answered with a rocketed direct free kick that hit the cross bar and landed across the goal line in the 33rd minute to ties thing up at 2-2.

“It was big to get that goal early. Really the first 25 minutes we settled in and played them back-and-forth. I’m proud of how we tied it up at 2-2,” Wheat Ridge coach Dan Watkins said. “Unfortunately once they get one you don’t want it to turn into waves. They are so dangerous moving forward.”

Valor poured in four goals to in the closing minutes of the first half and into the first minutes of the second half to take a commanding 6-2 lead. Aeva Graber, Brianna Johnson, Boade and Paige Kula scored on Wheat Ridge sophomore goalie Logan Duford.

Wheat Ridge had only given up nine goals total in its previous 13 games.

“It didn’t go our way tonight and part of that is do to their talent,” Watkins said.

Wheat Ridge was shorthanded without the services of one of its top defenders in Corina Wing. The senior received a red card during the Farmers’ wild 6-3 victory over Green Mountain on April 26. A 1-game suspension came with Wing’s red card so she had to sit out the 4A Jeffco title game.

“I think it’s about moving forward,” Watkins said. “We have a change to put ourselves in a situation to finish 13-2. We’ve had a great season. We are tested and ready for the playoffs.”

The Farmers bounced back with a 5-1 win over Northridge on May 5 to wrap up the regular season. Wheat Ridge grabbed the No. 2 seed for the state tournament and was scheduled host No. 31 Thompson Valley in the first round Wednesday, May 10, after press deadline.

Wheat Ridge remains the No. 2 seed in the 4A state tournament that begins this week. The Farmers hosted No. 31 Thompson Valley on May 10.

The 4A Jeffco League grabbed four of the top-7 seeds with Valor, Wheat Ridge, No. 4 D’Evelyn and No. 7 Evergreen. No. 19 Littleton, No. 23 Standley Lake and No. 28 Green Mountain also made the field. Golden was the only 4A Jeffco team to be left out of the postseason.

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