Video: Grandview vs. Columbine
See the Wolves, the Class 5A 2-seed, in action from earlier this year.
There were not too many surprises when the girls soccer postseason brackets were released Sunday.
The RPI system took much of the guesswork out of determining what teams would be seeded where. When all was said and done, Cherry Creek (Class 5A), Valor Christian (4A), Jefferson Academy (3A) and Denver Christian (2A) drew the top seeds across the state's four classifications.
But while each of the state's four top seeds reached the championship game a year ago – with three of those teams winning the state title – seeding doesn't always play out in the favorite's favor. Broomfield made the 5A semifinals in 2016 as a No. 12 seed, and No. 13 Mullen did the same in 4A. Seventh-seeded Valor Christian advanced to the 4A title game.
Three years ago, the 5A bracket was turned on its head with a pair of Jeffco Schools – No. 8 Columbine and No. 10 Ralston Valley – the final two teams standing. The Rebels took home the title that year.
With the 5A and 2A fields getting underway Tuesday with first-round action, here is a quick look at the four classifications:Class 5A
1. Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
; 2. Grandview (Aurora)
; 3. Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch)
; 4. Ralston Valley (Arvada)Defending state champion:
The Bruins had a remarkable year and were deserving of the top overall spot. Cherry Creek (14-0-1) shut out 10 of its 15 opponents overall, and the only blemish on its regular season record was a 1-1 tie with two-time defending state champion Grandview. Senior Libby Geraghty
scored 20 goals to pace the team.
Speaking of the Wolves, perhaps no team in the state is more battle-tested. Grandview (11-3-1) opened the season with back-to-back losses to Regis Jesuit and Mountain Vista, but closed the year with victories over teams like 4A top-seeded Valor Christian and Columbine.
Mountain Vista (12-2-1) won its final 10 games of the season after a three-game winless streak.Other teams to watch:
Cherry Creek may be the top seed, but its quad may very well be the toughest of the four. Two 2016 semifinalists are waiting in the wings in No. 8 Broomfield
and No. 9 Columbine (Littleton)
But it's 10th-seeded Rocky Mountain (Fort Collins)
that could be among the most interesting teams to watch. The Lobos (12-3) fell by only one goal in each of their three losses, including a 1-0 defeat to Grandview back in March. Rocky Mountain won nine of its final 10, defeating the Nos. 8, 14 and 16 seeds in that stretch. Junior Gabi McDonald
allowed only six goals this season, and juniors Jade Gosar
and Maddy Williams
combined to score 22. Both No. 7 Regis Jesuit (Aurora)
and, potentially, Grandview could stand in the way though.
1. Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)
; 2. Wheat Ridge
; 3. Lewis-Palmer (Monument)
; 4. D'Evelyn (Denver)Defending state champion:
Last spring the 4A Jeffco League found itself with three of the top 10 seeds, but all of those teams wound up in the same quadrant. Valor Christian had to defeat two league opponents on its way to the 4A title game.
Headed into Wednesday's first round, Jeffco has four of the top seven overall seeds, but the distribution is a bit more to the league's liking. Valor Christian, Wheat Ridge and D'Evelyn are in the top four and in different quadrants; No. 7 Evergreen
is in Quadrant 4 with Wheat Ridge, just like last spring. The Cougars hope to draw inspiration from Valor Christian, which made the championship from the same position.
The Eagles appear to be on the path toward another finals appearance and possibly their first state title since 2011. Valor Christian (13-1) defeated four of the top seven seeds during the regular season, and the only loss came to 5A Grandview. Three players – seniors Brianna Johnson
, Tess Boade
and Camryn Dyke
– finished with at least 26 points.
No. 3 Lewis-Palmer (13-2) and No. 5 The Classical Academy (Colorado Springs)
(13-1) will be tough outs. The Rangers are the defending state champions, and Washington State-bound Brianna Alger
had a team-high 19 goals and seven assists during the season. TCA's only loss came to Valor in the regular-season finale, and the Titans outscored opponents 97-7, backed by 30 goals and 14 assists from senior Hannah Burgo
and 20 goals and 11 assists from freshman Trinity Harvey
.Other teams to watch:
After making the semifinals a year ago, sixth-seeded Windsor
(14-1) was a 1-0 loss to Niwot away from a perfect regular season. Sophomore Abby Gearhart
and junior Margaret Zimmerman
combined to score 51 goals, and the Wizards allowed only five.
No. 19 Littleton
presents a challenge in Quadrant 3. The Lions were only 7-8 this spring, but that included losses to three 5A playoff teams and four more losses to the top seeds out of the Jeffco League. But along the way Littleton defeated the Nos. 12 and 15 seeds in the 4A tournament, and played tough against Jeffco's best. Senior Sarah Payson
leads the team with 12 goals and junior Sarah Gray
has 11.Class 3A
1. Jefferson Academy (Broomfield)
; 2. Colorado Academy (Denver)
; 3. Manitou Springs
; 4. Liberty Common (Fort Collins)Defending state champion: Kent Denver (Englewood)Overview:
It's no surprise that four of the eight teams to receive a first-round bye come from the Metro League, led by top-seeded Jefferson Academy (13-1-1). The Jaguars' only loss this season came to No. 2 Colorado Academy, and the squad defeated the teams seeded 3-7. Four players finished with 26 points or more, led by sophomore Mira Houck
(13 goals, eight assists).
Colorado Academy had a brutal non-league schedule that included 5A Grandview and 4A's Valor Christian and Evergreen. Three players scored at least 11 goals for the Mustangs.
Manitou Springs and The Academy (Westminster.)
, both of which are in Quadrant 3, dropped only one game each during the regular season – to Jefferson Academy. Manitou allowed only six goals all year, and junior Brooklyn Mack
has a team-high 28 goals and eight assists. The Academy outscored opponents 109-9, with senior Alexis Loera
pacing the team with 33 goals and 18 assists.Other teams to watch: Vail Mountain
moved up a classification after winning two 2A titles. The Gore Rangers (11-3) played some inspired soccer down the stretch before stumbling in the finale against Summit. But the team has performed well in recent years in the postseason.
No. 13 St. Mary's (Colorado Springs)
dropped two early games to 5A Mullen (Denver)
and 4A Holy Family (Broomfield)
, and its two 3A losses came to two of the top five seeds in the tournament. But with a balanced offense that saw four players score at least 11 goals, the Pirates could make a run in Quadrant 2.Class 2A
1. Denver Christian (Denver)
; 2. Dawson School (Lafayette)
; 3. Front Range Christian (Littleton)
; 4. Evangelical Christian (Colorado Springs)Defending state champion:
Vail Mountain (now in 3A)Overview:
Denver Christian (13-2) saw its two losses come to 3A programs, and the Thunder outscored seeds 2-4 in the 2A field by a combined score of 13-2 in April. Freshman Kara Amidon
leads the team with 23 goals, and junior Miranda Kortenhoeven
had a balanced 16-goal, 16-assist regular season.
Dawson School (11-3) dropped three of its final seven games, but the final two came to 3A playoff squads. The state runner-up has senior Hannah Isenhart
leading the attack with 30 goals and 14 assists, and freshman Kaitlyn Day
added 20 goals and nine assists.
Front Range Christian dropped six of its first eight before winning its final seven games.Other teams to watch: Telluride
(11-3-1), the No. 6 seed, already advanced to the second round after a forfeit victory over Colorado Springs School
. The Miners won 10 of their final 12 regular-season games, and 14 players scored a goal for the team. Telluride's advantage is that much of the rest of the 2A field hasn't faced the Miners this season.