The path, at least mentally speaking, had already been laid out for the Broomfield girls soccer team in 2015.
After watching the Eagles boys soccer team conquer the Front Range League and turn it into a state championship, then seeing the girls basketball team dominate in their first Class 5A-level season, that “Why not us?” mantra began to seep in for Makena Bambei and her teammates prior to their spring season.
If those other teams shared one common trait, it was that they stayed healthy. For Jim Davidson’s team, it took but one game for that element to fly out the window.
“The second that Hailey (Mazzola) got hurt (in the team’s third game against Niwot), if you would have told me we’d make it to the finals I would’ve laughed at you,” Bambei said.
“We knew it was going to be hard going from 4A to 5A, but we knew if we really worked hard and put the effort in we could do as well as we have been doing. Getting to the championship our first year in 5A, I feel like that’s a great accomplishment.”
In many ways, Mazzola’s unfortunate injury produced an additional focal point for Broomfield. The Eagles’ determination to go as far as possible while Mazzola served as a vocal leader on the sidelines helped maximize everyone’s efforts, and it resulted in a FRL title and an appearance in the Class 5A final against Grandview.
For Davidson, there was no one who maximized her effort more than Bambei. For her savvy play as both a distributor and goal-scorer, Bambei has been named BoCoPreps.com girls soccer Player of the Year.
Bambei finished as Broomfield’s top point-producer this season, amassing 11 goals and 15 assists for 37 points. There was a lot of creativity in her approach, whether it was by setting up classmate Michaela Stark or a number of other big contributors on Broomfield’s offense.
She embodied craftiness, and Davidson said that allowed for Broomfield to be such a tough team to defend all year.
“We really had to re-invent our systems this year, and Makena was the cog of that machine,” Davidson said. “She really selflessly took over that role in the midfield, and because she’s so dynamic we were able to move her up top a lot whenever we struggled. She created as a midfielder and finished as a forward, and her and Michaela were a dangerous combination.”
“It’s good to be as versatile as possible and know that I can help the team,” said Bambei, who has verbally committed to play at Idaho State. “My goal is just to get better each year. I would like to improve numbers each year, but it’s not about stats really. I just want to be better.”
She started the season off by scoring a goal against Liberty, and then went on a run of multiple assists in four of five games. Most of her goals came in a stretch of league play in mid-April, but she picked a great time to score her 11th goal of the season, a laser of a shot that broke a stalemate against Mountain Vista in the semifinals with just 10 minutes left in regulation.
That playoff win over the Golden Eagles served as Bambei’s favorite win of the season — one that only could have been surpassed by a title-tilt win over Grandview.
Looking at the roster, the Eagles could already be considered a favorite in the FRL race for next year, and then some. Most of the team’s starters this year were juniors or younger.
“I wish that Mallory (Pugh) was playing that game just so that we could’ve seen how we matched up,” Bambei added of the Mountain Vista game. “But I’m glad that we got that win to make it to the final. We are so excited for next year already.”
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