Ralston Valley boys soccer battles in playoff opener loss

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 11/1/21

WESTMINSTER — Legacy’s prolific goal scorer — Cooper Stephens — admitted he was a little frustrated Oct. 27 at North Stadium. The junior had chance-after-chance to put the ball in the back of …

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Ralston Valley boys soccer battles in playoff opener loss

Posted

WESTMINSTER — Legacy’s prolific goal scorer — Cooper Stephens — admitted he was a little frustrated Oct. 27 at North Stadium.

The junior had chance-after-chance to put the ball in the back of the net in the opening 40 minutes of the Class 5A 1st round playoff game. The No. 7-seeded Lightning dominated possession and scoring opportunities, but No. 26 Ralston Valley kept the game scoreless going into halftime.

“It was rough,” Stephens said. “I went out this earlier this week and worked on my shots. I wanted to score a bunch today. One was enough and it won us the game.”

Stephens put his 21st goal of the season into the back of the net in the 52nd minute. It was all Legacy needed as it took a 1-0 victory to advance to the round of 16 Tuesday, Nov. 2, where they will host rival and No. 10 Broomfield.

“I had been making the same run during the game,” Stephens said of his header off the corner kick by sophomore Lucas Monstera. “I got my head on it once and it hit the cross bar.”

Stephens put the eventual game-winning header out the reach of Ralston Valley back-up goalie Donovan Meador. The Mustangs’ starting goalie — sophomore Parker Scott — was brilliant in the first half. However, Scott took a knee to the head in the opening minute of the second half when Legacy senior Scott Croff collided with Scott while going after a loose ball in the goalie box.

“He (Scott) had a great first half and played really well,” Ralston Valley coach Jamie Scarcliff said of the sophomore goalie. “I’m proud of Donovan, also a sophomore, for coming in a big game. Both of them stepped up. They gave us the chance to stay in it.”

Ralston Valley (8-7-1) hadn’t got many shots on goal until late in the second half. The Mustangs’ best scoring chance came in the 60th minute when junior Pablo Molla Tejero fired a shot the hit the cross bar.

“I think those last 8 minutes of the game we started firing it on,” Scarcliff said. “I wish that would have started a little earlier, but again, I’m proud of the kids that they didn’t give up and they kept it tight.”

Legacy (13-2-1) weren’t able to tack on an insurance goal as Meador was solid in net for the Mustangs.

“They were a lot better than I think all of us expected them to be. I applaud them for that,” Stephens said of Ralston Valley. “They had a great season.”

Stephens and the Lightning turn their attention to rival Broomfield that came from behind to defeat No. 23 Columbine 2-1 in another first-round game Wednesday night. Legacy defeated the Eagles 2-1 earlier this season.

“They program has never made it past the quarterfinals,” Stephens said. “That is where we are striving to get.”

Ralston Valley started the season 1-5 before having a nice run to the postseason. The Mustangs entered the playoff with a 4-game winning streak with all victories coming via a shutout win.

“They worked really hard throughout the season,” Scarcliff said of her squad. “I think with us being so young this season it took us awhile to find our timing together. It took us time to build and connect with. It helped us play stronger at the end of the season.”

Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.

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