LOVELAND — The wish list for Thompson Valley High School senior Jordin Campbell has changed dramatically over the past couple weeks.
At the beginning of the season, the checklist included a Northern Conference championship — which on Tuesday afternoon against Broomfield became a scratch-through. Postseason is still a possibility, but with the Eagles suffering some injuries to some of their brightest stars, Campbell and her teammates are looking simply to survive and find ways to jell again.
“It’s frustrating, and I just wish we could have played them earlier in the season when we had our full team,” Campbell said. “We have to work with what we have, and I think we did good for what we have.”
As it stands, with a 6-0 loss to the conference-leading BHS Eagles at the Loveland Sports Park, Thompson Valley has now lost three straight and five of eight. A goal in the first five minutes from freshman Michaela Stark certainly didn’t feed into the confidence factor, and Broomfield (6-0 in the NC, 11-2-1 overall) managed to attack at will against a team that, earlier in the season, was the squad putting the pressure on opponents.
“We’ve just been struggling with finishing, and I think a lot of that is players trying to figure out who’s where and just getting used to a new lineup,” said Campbell, who has seen six teammates fall to probable season-ending injuries. “That’s played a big role in us not being able to finish.”
“When you’re missing six of your 17, it’s tough to function properly. I have superstars that are out for the year,” said head coach Adam Bauer, whose team is still 3-3 in league, 8-5 overall. “The injuries have made life difficult for us, and we have to scrape to stay in games that, earlier in the season, we would have won.
“We’re going to pull four or five from (junior varsity) to hopefully fill in those gaps. It’s a matter of fighting for everything at this point, be as scrappy as possible while keeping our confidence level up. Against a great, great team like Broomfield, it’s tough to rebound when you’re going through a stretch like this.”
The injury count went up almost immediately on Tuesday, with Kaylynn Maston, a senior, and sophomore Alayna Mihaly both needing to be helped off the turf field with serious harm done.
Many of the components are still available — Paige Chase, Jordan Paulsen, Josi Briggs and Allie Davis still form a potent attack. But teams have been able to zero in on that core group, and it’s resulted in a single goal scored the past three games. Broomfield narrowed the field of play by eliminating the wings, something head coach Jim Davidson knew had to be done even though Thompson Valley was not at full strength.
“Their frontrunners and their wide midfield players as a group are as paced of an attack as we’ve seen this season, just great pace and athleticism. But we were really able to pressure their backs, and they had a hard time playing it to the midfield,” Davidson said, his team closing in on the league title with Centaurus the only other contender. “I think it started with us defending really high today.”
Of course, the pressure really fell on Thompson Valley’s side after Broomfield came up with an early goal — although it was just the beginning for Stark. She finished with two goals, the second one coming in the 25th minute as she tracked down a long through ball from about 40 yards out and dribbled in for a breakaway goal on Marie Pipinich. Stark added an assist on BHS’ fifth tally, a left-footed pass finished by Kristin Snyder in the 54th minute.
On Broomfield’s sixth and final score, it was Stark’s drive along the goal line that helped produce a rebound score by Mindy Jones. Brooke Quinn and Katie Forsee also had goals, both in the first half.
“Michaela was fantastic today, and I think she’s been waiting for this match,” Davidson said. “She had to sit out a year with a bad knee injury, so she’s been playing back into form. I think today, we really saw flashes of brilliance from her.”
Thompson Valley has a pair of games left, with its final conference tilt coming Thursday against Niwot. The Eagles will then play Tri-Valley leaders Windsor on Friday.
“(Playoffs) looks tough; We can’t lose another game,” Bauer said.