Spring break is over for the schools in the Class 5A Front Range League, which means its girls soccer teams will get back to action this week as it rolls right into league play.
And while March, much like its forecast, didn’t provide much clarity for the FRL members, April tends to weed out the league title contenders from the ‘maybe next year’ bunches rather quickly.
For now, though, it’s anybody’s guess after the league’s five area teams — Broomfield, Monarch, Boulder, Fairview and Legacy — went a combined 13-2-2 to open the season.
“There is a general sense of (the league) being very much up for grabs,” said Legacy coach Luke Meadows, who went on to list reasons for optimism for each of the area’s FRL teams. “Some of it is going to come down to matchups, some of it’s going to come down to who’s healthy, some of it will come down to who’s having a good day versus bad day.”
Added Boulder coach Carlos Real: “We’ve all talked about how on paper it seems way more competitive than other years.”
The Eagles (4-0), winners of the past two league titles, dominated their first four opponents; the Coyotes (3-0) haven’t allow a goal; the Panthers (3-0-1) are currently ranked a league-best 10th in 5A RPI; the Knights (1-1) crushed a 2018 Final Four team in Mountain Vista, 5-1; and the Lightning (2-1-1) have pitched three shutouts.
The quick starts could end up meaning nothing or it may be an indication of more parity in a league that has been won by either Broomfield or Fairview every year since 2014.
Here are five other things to look out for in the FRL:
Broomfield’s scoring duo. Mallory Mooney has an FRL-most seven goals and Shaylee Gailus is second among league players with five. The Eagles, who have outscored their first four opponents 19-3, graduated a touted 2018 senior class led by Hailey Stodden, who had 32 goals last spring.
Monarch to nothing. That’s how the scoreboard has read over the Coyotes’ first three games of the season. They beat Centaurus 3-0, Denver East 2-0 and Greeley West 9-0. Next, they play Poudre, which hasn’t scored a goal in its three games this season.
Substance over flash. Scoring three goals in four games might not sound ideal, but it’s worked for Legacy. Meadow’s bunch has gone 2-1-1 despite it. The Lightning work to control possession and defend vigorously. And going forward, if they can figure out how to find the net a bit more, consider them very dangerous.
Rolling Boulder. Boulder just underwent one of the most impressive turnarounds in the state, jumping from a 4-11 record in 2017 to a 10-6-1 record last spring. And a drop-off doesn’t appear likely in 2019. Through four games, the Panthers are undefeated and are currently skirting on the outside of the top 10 5A teams in this week’s CHSAANow.com poll. Defender Reilly Madden, who had three goals all last season, leads the team with four goals this year. They visit Broomfield on Tuesday.
Three weeks and a day. That’ll be the last time Fairview played a game before returning to the pitch to face Rocky Mountain on Tuesday. Lack of games aside, the Knights were probably already one of the hardest teams in the league to figure out coming into the 2019 season with a new coach in Steve Griggs and just four seniors on the varsity roster. Last year, they finished second in league and reached the second round of the playoffs.
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org and @brentwnew