Sometimes it takes only a year for a player to make the leap from up-and-coming to an all-state caliber talent.
Take the case of Gracie Armstrong
, a junior for the Legacy (Broomfield)
girls soccer team. As a sophomore, Armstrong scored four goals as the Lightning struggled to a 6-7-2 mark. The program missed the playoffs after averaging 12 victories a season during the previous four years.
But through 10 games in the 2017 season, Legacy has undergone a reversal of fortune. The Lightning has won nine out of its 10 games – the only setback a double-overtime loss to Fairview (Boulder)
– headed into Tuesday's contest with Greeley West
Maybe the biggest catalyst in that turnaround is the play of Armstrong, who has scored 17 of her team's 45 goals on the season (Legacy scored only 19 goals all of last season). Armstrong also leads the team with 10 assists and is tied for third in the state overall in points at 44 with Pueblo County
freshman Melina Faris
The goals are impressive, but it's the number of times that she has set up teammates for a goal that really stands out. Armstrong has at least one assist in seven games this season, and has multiple assists on three occasions.
With less than three weeks remaining in the regular season, it's efforts like this that really stand out around the state's soccer scene. Here is a look at some other players who have risen to the challenge headed into the home stretch of the season (only players with updated statistics on MaxPreps were taken into account):Class 5A
• Meg Halvorson
has not found the back of the net as frequently as Armstrong, but the Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
senior is just as big a threat to find an open teammate. Halvorson is tied with Armstrong for the 5A lead in assists with 10, including a four-assist game against Durango in March and a three-assist performance last week against Arapahoe (Centennial). She and fellow Cherry Creek senior Libby Geraghty
have combined for 20 goals for the top-ranked Bruins, who are 9-0 headed into the toughest portion of their schedule.
junior Hailey Stodden
has the Eagles eyeing a potential postseason run in a bid to return to the title game for the fourth time in five years. Stodden is second in 5A with 36 points, scoring 16 goals to go along with four assists. The forward has found the back of the net in each of the team's seven games thus far.
• Prairie View (Henderson)
freshmen Jordan Johnson
and Alycia Vigil
and junior Madison Kemp
have driven the Thunderhawks to a 9-0 start of their own. The trio has combined for 27 goals and 21 assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Savannah Watts
has allowed only one goal in nine games.
• Scoring balance for Pine Creek (Colorado Springs)
has been showcased as 13 players have scored at least once during the team's 6-2 start. But the Eagles also have three players with at least six assists: Seniors Natasha Wehner
and Athena Kuehn
have seven each, and Madeline Alhamra
• In addition to Broomfield and Legacy, the Front Range League has four other teams with at least six victories. Fairview senior Tea Smith
leads the Knights (7-1) with 12 goals and four assists; Fossil Ridge (Fort Collins)
senior Bella Alessi
also 12 goals for the undefeated Sabercats (9-0).
• Teaggan Ilela
of Hinkley (Aurora)
(14 goals), Denver South's Kaitlyn Krieg
(13 goals) and ThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch)
standout Shae Holmes
(13 goals) have also lit up the scoreboard.Class 4A
• The Classical Academy (Colorado Springs)
is one of two undefeated teams in the 4A ranks, boosted by the play of senior Hannah Burgo
. Burgo owns 14 goals to go along with six assists for the second-ranked Titans. Teammate Trinity Harvey
has scored 11 goals and also has seven assists.
• Wheat Ridge
senior Alexandra Nillen
has the Farmers in the thick of the 4A chase with her 13 goals. Farmers sophomore goalkeeper Logan Duford
has allowed only six goals in nine games.
• Pueblo County has two of 4A's current top-five leaders in points scored. The aforementioned freshman Faris has 20 goals and four assists to her credit, and sophomore Kaitlyn Hinkle
has scored 15 goals to go along with nine assists.
• Not to be outdone, Pueblo Central
senior Julianna Torrez
(14 goals, eight assists) and freshman Abby Gridley
(11 goals, nine assists) are in the top 11. Continuing the Pueblo theme: Pueblo East
freshman Evelin Valdez
is second to Faris with 19 goals, and Pueblo Centennial
senior Cara Siegel
owns 15 goals and five assists.
• Elizabeth's Summer Hatch
(17 goals, six assists) is tied for third in 4A with Palisade's Sami Feller
. Elizabeth freshman Rachel Melchior
has scored 14 goals, and junior Reilly Blakeslee
is tied for the 4A lead at 14 assists with Pueblo Centennial's Kinley Carter
• Windsor's Abby Gearhart
is tied for seventh with 14 goals. Jaden Davis
of Sand Creek (Colorado Springs)
is seventh in 4A in points with 13 goals and 10 assists.Class 3A
• Amanda Stricker
and Alexis Loera
of The Academy (Westminster)
are hoping to lead the Wildcats back to at least the state semifinals. Stricker leads 3A in assists with 14 and also has scored seven goals. Loera has scored 10 goals to go along with seven assists.
• Manitou Springs
is currently ranked fifth in 3A, and junior Brooklyn Mack
is a big part of that. Mack's 18 goals and five assists are good for 41 points, tied for third in 3A; teammate Bridget Bodor
has eight goals and six assists. Senior keeper Monique Heiniger
leads 3A in goals-against-average at .222, having allowed two goals in nine games.
• Jefferson Academy (Broomfield)
freshman goalkeeper Brooklynn Kirkpatrick
is second at .649, having allowed only six goals in nine games.
• Colorado Springs Christian
is ranked sixth, and has a pair of 11-goal scorers in seniors Hannah Wilson
and Gabby Huthoefer
. Basalt's Callahan Card
and Taylor Glen
also have 11 goals each.
• Sheridan (Denver)
sophomore Yasmine Redondo
leads the state with 34 goals, including performances of seven goals and six goals (twice). Alamosa
junior Katie Parkins
isn't far behind with 24 goals of her own.
• The Pinnacle (Federal Heights)
senior Jaqueline Moncada
is the only player in 3A to go double-digits in both goals (15) and assists (11).
• A trio of players are tied for fourth in 3A with 16 goals each: Denver Science & Tech Stapleton's Maddie Sorensen
; Bruce Randolph (Denver)
's Yulianna Munoz
; and Sterling's Jaycie Dillenburg
. Pagosa Springs' Hannah Marnocha
and Eve Norman
of Liberty Common (Fort Collins)
each have 13 goals.Class 2A
• It's no surprise that all-state talent Hannah Isenhart
of top-ranked Dawson School (Lafayette)
leads 2A in points. The senior has 43 points, scoring 16 goals to go along with 11 assists. Freshman teammate Kaitlyn Day
is third with 13 goals and five assists.
• Denver Christian
freshman Kara Amidon
leads 2A with 17 goals scored, and junior Miranda Kortenhoeven
is tied with Isenhart for the 2A lead with 11 assists and also has scored nine goals.
• Clear Creek (Evergreen)
junior Samantha O'Brien
ranks third in 2A with 14 goals. McKenna Monk
of Fountain Valley (Colorado Springs)
and Jacqueline Dalbotten
of Rocky Mountain Lutheran (Denver)
are not far behind at 11 goals each.