When the Boulder County and Broomfield County prep girls soccer teams take the pitch for the first time in the 2022 spring season, three will have major targets on their backs.
Last June, in an incredible few hours for the local ladies, Dawson, Holy Family and Broomfield all secured state championships on the same day at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs. The Dawson Mustangs, in Class 2A, kicked off the day with the highest-scoring state championship in Colorado girls history with a dominating, 15-4 win over Telluride.
Twelve-seeded Holy Family immediately followed it up with a 2-1 stunner over No. 2 Evergreen in the Class 4A title game, during which Gianna Sandoval netted the game-winner from 30 yards out with 12 seconds left in regulation. Broomfield’s 5A championship match was next on the docket.
Long before the season ever started, Holy Family coach Michelle Griego held no doubt that her team would end up there.
“I really believed that our girls were going to win state,” she said. “I emailed them at the beginning of the season that we were going to do that. They are a really good group of girls and I think that everybody just kind of underestimated them. They were a really special group, for sure.”
The dramatic ending, certainly, was icing on the cake, but not for everyone in attendance.
“To have our neighbor up the road win the fashion that they won was great,” Broomfield coach Jim Davidson said. “One of the things that really concerned me about that Holy Family game — we were rooting for them, obviously — but many of our girls are friends with, or played club soccer with the Holy Family kids.
“There were my girls, waiting for our match and waiting for our time to get into the locker room and prepare for our match, so my girls were all watching the Holy Family game and the way that game ended, in such dramatic fashion, really concerned me. My girls all got super excited for their friends and I thought, ‘Oh no, are we going to be able to focus?’ Fortunately, we were able to focus but I think that was a great moment for Holy Family and so we were very happy and proud of them.”
Indeed, the focus was there for BHS and the Eagles capped off the day with a 3-1 win over Rock Canyon for their second state title in school history.
This year, all three squads know their roads back to the championship won’t be so easy. The Mustangs lost one of the most prolific scorers they — and Colorado — have ever seen in Degen Miller, who sunk 99 goals and 40 assists in 33 career games. The Mustangs have been to six straight Class 2A state title games and, though they know they’ll have some work to do to get back this year, it won’t be such a simple task without Miller.
“Obviously, we had a lot of 10-0 games last year and I don’t know that it will be quite the same this year,” assistant coach Erik Davies said. “Thankfully, they have the perspective and know that there’s nothing without labor. The school motto is kind of their motto that they know if this is something they want to repeat, then they’re going to have to work for it, and probably a little bit harder than they had to work for it last year.”
Broomfield, likewise, lost a top shooter in Bella Arreola, who scored nine goals, just as Holy Family said goodbye to Lauren Clingman, who led the Tigers with 11 goals. Despite those senior losses, all three coaches are confident that they’ll field teams that can be just as competitive this year and that will deserve far higher than the No. 12 seed once the postseason comes around.
No matter how the season plays out, one thing is for certain. Colorado girls soccer better watch out for those Broomfield and Boulder County teams. They’re dangerous.
“On the girls side, we have something very special going on in the area,” Davidson said. “There’s a lot of depth, a lot of really talented players, some talented coaches and I think the programs are really thriving in this area right now. Hopefully, we can keep it up.”
Cream of the crop: 2021 BoCoPreps.com All-region team
First Team (Name, 2020-21 class, school)
F Jillian Acosta, Sr., Silver Creek; F Maddie Brady, Jr., Broomfield; F/MF Bailey Giddings, So., Broomfield; F Addie Lowrie, Sr, Monarch; F Degen Miller, Sr., Dawson; F Madeline Borncamp, Sr., Niwot; F Kate Runyon, So., Jefferson Academy; MF Eve Bleam, Jr., Boulder; MF Brae Cole, Sr., Monarch; MF Juliauna Hayward, Jr., Legacy; MF Kylie Hoffman, So., Legacy; MF Reagan Kotschau, So., Broomfield; MF Blythe Sales, Sr., Fairview; MF Maddy Timms, Sr., Dawson; D Madison Allshouse, Jr., Legacy; D Annika Kassenbrock, Sr., Silver Creek; D Jordan Okada, Sr., Fairview; D Taryn Rea, Jr., Broomfield; D Sarah Uhler, Sr., Holy Family; GK Olivia Dietrich, Jr., Holy Family; GK Kara Nelson, Jr., Silver Creek.
Abby Anson, Jr., Skyline; Paige Armstrong, Jr., Legacy; Bella Arreola, Sr., Broomfield; Monet Becvar, Jr., Silver Creek; Kacy Clements, Sr., Holy Family; Lauren Clingman, Sr., Holy Family; Emerson DeLuca, Fr., Broomfield; Dylan Drennan, Jr., Broomfield; Natalie Farhar, So., Peak to Peak; Kiera Flannagan, Sr., Niwot; Elise Freedman, Sr., Dawson; Jaelen Giron, Sr., Holy Family; Nora Hayden, Sr., Niwot; Maddy Hays, Sr., Erie; Greta Heinemann, So., Fairview; Alisha Herremans, Jr., Monarch; Maggie Hirsch, Sr., Jefferson Academy; Lauren Hudson, Jr., Peak to Peak; Ella Jimenez, Fr., Erie; Shay Kercher-Pratt, So., Legacy; Ava Kuszak, Jr., Holy Family; Mikayla Kyle, Sr., Centaurus; Helen Leon, Jr., Dawson; Jessica Martinez, Sr., Centaurus; Katie McConnell, Jr., Boulder; Michaela McGowan, So., Broomfield; Macee McKenna, So., Broomfield; Lauren Muniz, Fr., Dawson; Kayla Osegueda, Sr., Niwot; Emma Phillips, Fr., Frederick; Morgan Potts, Jr., Jefferson Academy; Kendall Rippley, So., Legacy; Paola Rubi, Sr., Skyline; Gianna Sandoval, Jr., Holy Family; Cate Sarinopoulos, Fr., Boulder; Allie Seery, Sr., Mead; Claire Silverman, So., Fairview; Ann Spence, So., Centaurus;
Sophia Stalter, Fr., Monarch; Helen Stegner, So., Jefferson Academy; Kyla Stroker, So., Fairview; Madison Tallman, Sr., Erie; Cora Thorndike, Sr., Mead; Kateri Trujillo, So., Prospect Ridge; Mia VanLeeuwen, Jr., Silver Creek; Megan Wagner, Fr., Peak to Peak; Karinne Walther, Sr., Peak to Peak; Haley Williams, Jr., Mead; Tiffany Yie, So., Niwot; Ilise Ziebarth, So. Fairview.