The Colorado high school postseason is officially underway as the girls lacrosse state tournaments begin play this week.
Champions are set to be crowned May 20 at the University of Denver. First round games begin May 10.
In each classification, there are a few heavy favorites that will make a run at the championship and a few underdogs that could spoil the party.
Here is a quick look at the fields for both classes as teams get set to begin their championship journeys:Class 5A // Brackets
Considering the last time Colorado Academy (Denver)
finished a year without a state championship was 2014, the Mustangs have to be seen as the favorite in 5A even with a loss to Kent Denver (Englewood)
. Aside from that slip up, there isn't a team on the bracket that Colorado Academy isn't capable of beating over the next couple of weeks. Zoe Martin
has emerged as one of the best young players in the state and leads the Mustangs with 51 goals scored. Colorado Academy has eight players with at least 10 goals this season. Olivia Aguirre
has been solid in the net, maintaining a save percentage of .457.Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)
is another team that has looked dominant this year. The Eagles have just one loss and that came to Colorado Academy on April 21. But Valor Christian has passed every other test, which is why it's the No. 2 seed in 5A. Eliza Osburn
leads the Eagles with 51 goals, while Reagan Digby
has a team-high 39 assists to go with her 41 goals. Both are part of a well-balanced Valor Christian offensive attack, which also includes Courtney Kakac
(27 assists and 16 goals).Fairview (Boulder)
has lost to both Colorado Academy and Valor Christian, but those two losses were by a combined three goals. By that metric, the Knights are certainly no worse than the third-best team in the state and that's why they're the No. 3 seed in 5A. Cami Johnson
stands out as the offensive leader thanks to her 53 goals and 17 assists. Her best game of the year (seven goals and five assists) came in a 19-6 win over Kent Denver. Where Fairview is hoping to see an advantage in the playoffs is at goalie. Anne Booth
has made 60 saves and holds a save percentage of .689 on the year.
In what has become a predictable pattern in 5A, Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
comes in as the No. 4 seed having lost just three games all year. All three losses came against the teams that are seeded higher than the Bruins. Cherry Creek had one of its best showings of the year in a 19-16 loss to Valor Christian. Sawyer Billings
, Molly Threlkeld
and Lily Assini
each scored three times in that game, while Skylar Camacho
led the Bruins with four goals. Assini leads the team with 51 goals this season.Other teams to watchThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch)
has put together an impressive resume throughout the season. The Grizzlies have beaten the likes of Evergreen
and Kent Denver. McKenna Eppers
is 10th in the class in goals scored with 47.Air Academy (US Air Force Academy)
is another team that shouldn't be counted out. The Kadets were once the dominant girls lacrosse program in the state and with some big wins this year, it's evident they want to regain that status. Marguerite Schipfer
(44 goals) is a big reason why they've played well this year. Class 4A // Brackets
Defending state champion Evergreen is the No. 1 seed after going 11-4 in the regular season. The Cougars have not been shy about scoring goals, totaling 210 as a team in 2022. Averi Gardner
leads the charge with 70 and holds the team lead in assists with 44. Bella Reece
has scored 65 goals and has 13 assists, giving Evergreen a multi-dimensional scoring threat on offense. The Cougars had a bad stretch early in the season, losing four of six games, but put together seven straight wins to close out the regular season. evergreen will face the winner of Holy Family (Broomfield)
and Eagle Valley (Gypsum)
in the second round.Thompson Valley (Loveland)
is the No. 2 seed and is a much more experienced team than it was last year when it fell to Evergreen in the state semifinals. Aidan Carr
has put together an impressive year, scoring 67 goals and dishing out 30 assists. Rory Carr
has kept a similar pace, notching 65 goals and 27 assists. Overall, the Eagles have five players on the roster who have scored at least 24 goals this year. It helps that goaltenders Kloey Maggiano
and Kailee Carter
each turn away shots with a good amount of regularity. Carter's save percentage hovers around .400 while Maggiano sits at .475. Thompson Valley has a bye to start the tournament and faces the winner of Roaring Fork (Carbondale)
and Fruita Monument (Fruita)
advanced to last year's state title game as the No. 10 seed, but should have an easier route as it comes in as the No. 3 seed. The only two losses to 4A teams that the Sabercats had were one-goal losses to both Evergreen and Thompson Valley. Riley Schultz
leads Castle View with 47 goals, but the team has a very diverse offensive attack overall. Six players have scored at least 20 goals this season, including Samantha Hughes
and Tessa Boehm
who have each scored 39.
In its first year of competition, the Poudre School District (Fort Collins)
has seen some impressive results. The team opened the year with a win over Thompson Valley and has been competitive against the likes of Castle View and Evergreen. PSD comes into the tournament as the No. 4 seed, but with three straight losses to end the regular season, it needs to get back to its winning ways in a hurry. Maddison Santini
and Kendall VanMeveren
should be catalysts as they've scored 64 and 43 goals, respectively, this season. Anna Holly
has been a wall in the net, maintaining a save percentage of .563.
Other teams to watch
Dawson School (Lafayette)
could make a good run this postseason thanks to the efforts of Annabelle Biggar
. The junior is one of two players, regardless of classification, to score more than 100 goals on the year. She leads the entire state with 112.
The other to eclipse the century mark is Northfield (Denver)
sophomore Reilly Cormier
who has 107 goals. The Nighthawks have a likely date with Evergreen in the quarterfinals.