FREDERICK — This certainly isn't the Tri-Valley League of old.
For years, the level of play for girls soccer in the TVL — while competitive in and amongst themselves — hasn't held up at the statewide level once the playoffs rolled around.
Now with teams like Windsor, Holy Family and Erie starting to emerge as front-runners not only within the league but also opening eyes up and down the Front Range, it is imperative for the rest of the league to match their level.
And winning the league games that you are supposed to win is imperative.
Such was the case for Mead on Wednesday night against Frederick in both teams' TVL opener. Both teams came in with winning records, but it was the Mavericks — with a sizeable depth advantage — that had their way against the Warriors, winning 3-0 and improving to 5-2 overall.
"It's very important, and especially this year. We've got a good group of girls and a good team and I think we can push to be one of those top teams," said Mead coach Shane Adler, whose team is off until they travel to Erie next Monday. "Every win we need.
"We preach it every game, every practice but all we can do is take it one game at a time."
Against a Frederick side that has been bitten extremely hard by the injury bug — so much so, they only had 14 healthy varsity bodies and two of them suffered injuries over the course of the 80 minutes — Mead was able to control possession and clearly had the field tilted in their favor.
It wasn't until midway through the first half that the Mavericks were able to break through against a stingy Warriors backline.
Senior Jaylin Meining was able to create some space for herself — and notably her right foot — by juking a defender at the top of the 18-yard box and was able to beat Frederick's Jackie Castillo low to her far post.
Meining would bag her second in the 35th minute, when she rushed the net on Allison Seery's corner, created some havoc and was able to finish.
"The first one, honestly I was able to dribble around them and with a couple touches, I was able to get a shot off," said Meining, who had only scored one other time this season. "They were both pretty lucky."
It was the Mavericks defense that did its job the rest of the night. The back four, anchored by senior Sydney Postle, gave up just one shot on goal — a dandy by Aria Bragalone that was turned away by Stephanie Pabst — and made things difficult for Warriors striker Shelby Smotzer.
"(Sydney) is a great communicator and they make it work, all four of them," said Adler, who knows his defense will get some stern tests as the season wears on. "I think she is up for that challenge."
Seery would score the Mavericks final goal in the 72nd minute, finishing off a sweet cross from Peyton Fox.
One of the bright spots for Frederick was Castillo, who stepped into the goalie position after Bree Encinias transferred to Mead. She made eight saves, including a spectacular stop on Fox's breakaway in the 58th minute.
"We are so beat up right now, but no excuses. You can't blame the result on not having players," said Frederick coach J Doehring, whose team has had some good showing against some ranked teams this season. "We just didn't come to play tonight."
MEAD 3, FREDERICK 0
At FrederickMead (5-2, 1-0)21—3Frederick (4-4, 0-1)00—0
Goals (assists) — Mead: Jaylin Meining (unassisted), 19th minute; Meining (Allison Seery), 35th; Seery (Peyton Fox), 72nd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Mead: Stephanie Pabst (80-0-1); Frederick: Jackie Castillo (80-3-8).