HIGHLANDS RANCH — Once a team advances past the first couple rounds of the state tournaments, seeding really doesn't mean a lot.
All of the teams that remain have earned their spot and can legitimately claim to be championship contenders.
But that doesn't make it any less baffling how the Broomfield Eagles were given a 12th seed to start these 5A playoffs. Broomfield's resume speaks for itself and there's no way 11 teams, if any, can lay claim to being more worthy than the Eagles.
Broomfield proved that point again Wednesday afternoon at Shea Stadium, controlling play in a 2-0 quarterfinal victory over No. 4 ThunderRidge in a game where the Grizzlies never really mounted much of a threat.
"The girls have reclaimed their season after some early struggles," said Broomfield coach Jim Davidson, who is trying to get his team to the state title game for the fourth consecutive year. "We'll play everybody at this point. But yeah, we were underseeded. There's no question the (Front Range) League was underseeded. We were very disappointed with the committee, but it is what it is and the girls have handled it well. They've won their quadrant and to get to the Final Four you've obviously done really well."
The win puts the Eagles (15-2-1)in Saturday's semifinals against No. 1 Grandview (16-0-1) in a rematch of last season's state championship game, which the Wolves won 2-0.
They earned that rematch with a dominant performance that Davidson said that started from keeper Shannon Mooney and the back line forward.
Hailey Stodden opened the scoring with a beautiful goal in the 10th minute. Gia Lemley made a charge on a Grizzlies' clearing attempt near the top of the penalty box, deflecting the ball out and to the left where Stodden was waiting.
Stodden fired a shot that travelled across the plane of the goal and nestled in to the top right corner of the net, just under the crossbar.
"It was an amazing ball by Gia for her working hard and getting it, and I just was there supporting her," Stodden said about her 17th goal of the season. "It was crucial (getting the first goal), it kind of separated us, made us more confident in our play."
The Eagles second goal was just as spectacular and was again the result of some heady play by Lemley up the middle. With defenders closing in on her, Lemley found Michaela Stark to her left. Stark settled the ball, allowing a defender to run by her, before chipping a shot that ThunderRidge keeper Sierra Roth had no chance at stopping.
"Hailey hit that first goal extremely well, and then I think (Michaela) felt she had to match it there," Davidson said. "She hit a brilliant ball at the far post there. Two fantastic goals."
That was more than enough for the defense, as it only allowed ThunderRidge to put one shot on goal. The Grizzlies (13-4-1), which featured U.S. under-17 national team member Shae Holmes, spent the majority of time on their own end of the field.
"They were a little dangerous on counters at times, and Shae, a national pool player is really, really hard to deal with and I thought (Cara Quinn) did a fantastic job defensively on her," Davidson said. "I think everyone did their job and our toughness was superb."
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Broomfield 2, ThunderRidge 0
At Shea StadiumBroomfield (15-2-1) 1 1 — 2
ThunderRidge (13-4-1) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Broomfield: Hailey Stodden (Gia Lemley), 10th minute; Michaela Stark (Lemley), 50th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Broomfield: Shannon Mooney (80-0-1); ThunderRidge: Sierra Roth (75-2-3), Lyndsay Durbin (5-0-0).