BROOMFIELD — Exiting Thursday night’s game at Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium, Hailey Mazzola had to admit Broomfield girls soccer was in a pretty good place.
Hard to argue with the defender for the third-ranked Eagles as her team’s 1-0 victory over Class 5A Boulder extended what has been an impressive season opening. The win over the 10th-ranked Class 5A team sent Broomfield into spring break without a loss against a string of top-notch talent.
And with the always-testing Northern League creeping up on the horizon, the early notches in the win column has Broomfield optimistic.
“This feels like its going to keep us rolling,” Mazzola said.
The defender played a large role in the Eagles (3-0-1) collecting their third consecutive victory of the season. The Boulder defense was in tip-top form, but the sophomore caught them off guard on a set piece.
Mazzola netted the ball in the 44th minute off a corner kick and in the midst of heavy defensive traffic. The play happened in such chaos, she barely knew what happened.
“It just bounced off a few players, I just took a touch and hit it in,” she said.
Mazzola’s commitment — along with her athleticism — are exactly the reasons why Broomfield coach Jim Davidson moves her up on such plays.
“Hailey does a great job on those set pieces,” Davidson said. “We send her forward because she is tall and very athletic. She worked hard in the box tonight, found the ball at her feet and slipped one in.”
The goal was a blessing for the Eagles, who struggled much of the night before and after to stick the ball on frame. The team was the aggressors, firing off seven shots on frame to Boulder’s three. But the Eagles appeared jinxed when it came to finding a crack on the Panthers’ goal.
“I think it’s just a lack of understanding that the strikers and midfielders have with each other,” Davidson said. “We’re so new and we’re mixing in younger players with new ones, there’s just not much familiarity.”
Where Broomfield saw some areas to tighten up on the attack, Boulder (0-3) saw a strong performance by its backfield. First-year coach Ryan Henkel could not say enough about the job his defensemen did in defusing what could have been a devastating attack.
“They came at us all game,” Henkel said. “Our back line, anchored by Abby Burridge, fought and scrapped all night.”
The stand was strong enough to give the Panthers a glimmer of hope at the end of the game, when its offense started to find its groove. Keile Kropf fired two well-struck shots off late, her first nearly squeaking over the head of the Broomfield keeper.
“We had a lot of close chances at the end,” Kropf said. “But we got started too late.”
Boulder’s run through its early-season schedule has been frustrating. The team has yet to pick up a win in its three outings, but it has lost by only a goal in each game.
“I think we’ll get there by the time it counts,” Kropf said. “It feels like we’re on the bubble right now.”
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
Broomfield 1, Boulder 0
At Broomfield H.S.
Boulder (0-3) 0 0 — 0
Broomfield (3-0-1) 0 1 — 1
Goals (assists) — Broomfield: Hailey Mazzola, (Kerri Marquardt), 44th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Boulder: Katherine Simpson-Johnson (80-1-6). Broomfield: Paige Lindbloom (80-0-3).