Just when it didn’t seem possible for there to be any further magic floating around the Broomfield girls soccer team, coach Jim Davidson’s club goes out and pulls off another improbable victory in thrilling fashion.
This time it was a 2-0 decision over top-seeded Mountain Vista in the semifinals of the Class 5A state tournament Saturday at Legacy Stadium. Broomfield extended its unbeaten streak to nine games, an 8-0-1 stretch that includes five overtime victories.
On Saturday Broomfield got the drama out of the way before overtime, combining a rugged defensive effort with a late game-changing strike of 30-plus yards from Makena Bambei to earn a berth in Wednesday’s 5A finale against Grandview at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
It will be the third consecutive title-game appearance for the Eagles, who were the state runner-up each of the past two seasons in 4A. Like the state champion Broomfield boys last fall, the girls squad will vie for a title in its first season at the 5A level.
“It’s been a magical run and the girls just have such belief,” said Davidson, who will lead the Broomfield girls program into the championship match for the fifth time. “They really care about each other. We talked about maybe, in the second half, something as simple as that could be the difference if we just continued to play for each other. They willed it.”
Mountain Vista entered the match slightly shorthanded with Mallory Pugh, perhaps the state’s top individual talent, training with the U-20 National Team. Yet the Golden Eagles still posed a formidable threat to the Broomfield defense with Megan Massey, a Tennessee recruit who is tied for the 5A lead with 26 goals, and future CU Buffalo Amy Alexander.
While Bambei’s picturesque goal provided the memorable highlight, it was the grunt work turned in by the Eagles’ back line — Cara Quinn, Zoe Zinis, Elle Webber and Brooke Quinn — that kept Broomfield in the game. Mountain Vista was the clear winner of time of possession and kept a constant aura of danger in the Eagles’ defensive zone, but whether through gritty clearing attempts or the willingness to absorb a bruise in order to block a shot, Broomfield was able to limit the Golden Eagles’ chances on frame.
One notable exception was a diving save junior goalie Shannon Mooney made on a low Massey shot with just under 20 minutes remaining, preserving the scoreless tie before the late dramatics.
“They played amazing,” Mooney said of the quartet in front of her. “They dropped when they needed to and they did really good watching all those players. We were all a little nervous, but we went into it knowing there wasn’t as much pressure on us. We knew we could win if we wanted to.”
As Broomfield’s offensive chances dwindled Davidson urged his players to take a chance when the opportunity was presented, and in the 70th minute Bambei obliged. Her arcing line drive from 30-plus yards skimmed the bottom of the crossbar and glanced off the outstretched reach of Mountain Vista freshman goalie Kylee Love.
In a curious coincidence, Bambei’s strike was launched from the same general vicinity of the Legacy Stadium turf as Tyler Hulst’s overtime winner for the Broomfield boys last fall in their semifinal win against Fairview.
“I knew that I had to get a shot off,” Bambei said. “We hadn’t taken very many shots. I was just hoping that was going in. When (Love) got a touch on it my heart kind of dropped, but then it went in.”
Mountain Vista’s attempts at a comeback were dimmed when Massey exited with an ankle injury less than two minutes after Bambei’s tally. Broomfield freshman Gia Lemley was able to take advantage of the reeling Golden Eagles with a rebound goal with 7 minutes, 21 seconds remaining to spark the celebration.
“We just really have come together as a family,” Bambei said. “We work together and we have nothing to lose. It’s our first year in 5A and we’re coming in as a four seed. We leave it all on the field and work as hard as we can.”
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Broomfield 2, Mountain Vista 0
Class 5A state semifinal
At Legacy Stadium
Broomfield (17-1-1) 0 2 — 2
Goals (assists) — Broomfield: Makena Bambei, 70th minute; Gia Lemley, 73rd minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Mountain Vista: Kylee Love (80-2-3); Broomfield: Shannon Mooney (80-0-3).