ARVADA — One of the largest crowds for a girls soccer game this spring at the North Area Athletic Complex got its money’s worth April 25.
Area rivals — Arvada West and Ralston Valley — couldn’t settle anything after 80 minutes of regular-time and a pair of two 10-minute overtime periods. A-West and Ralston Valley ended in a 1-1 draw in the Class 5A Jeffco League game.
“It was two good teams,” A-West coach Troy Gette said after the tie. “We’ve had common scores against common opponents. It was about we expected.”
After a scoreless first half, the Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute. Junior Payton Reed rocketed a shot from outside the goalie box just underneath the crossbar. It was redemption for Reed who had a great scoring chance in the first half, but her shot went right to the chest of Ralston Valley sophomore goalie Margot Mulhern.
Ralston Valley applied most of the pressure for the remainder of the second half. The Sabus sisters — Saya and Sophia — both had free kicks that were saved. Freshman Raleigh Greason and senior Reece Mercer both had shots that either went wide or were saved.
“She (Vessa) did great,” Gette said. “She made the saves she is supposed to and probably made a few saves she wasn’t supposed to. Our defense held strong and kept Ralston Valley at some low-percentage shots. My backline and goalkeeper played fantastic.”
It looked like the Mustangs (6-4-1, 2-3-1 in 5A Jeffco) had tied the game on a shot by sophomore Sophia Sabus in the 71st minute, but the play was ruled offside.
Finally, Ralston Valley tied it up 1-1 in the 73rd minute on a head by freshman Holly Engelking off a corner kick by Sophia Sabus.
Both teams had scoring chances at the end of regulation-time, but Vessa and Mulhern held up to end the game into overtime. Nobody could get the ball past Vessa or Mulhern in the two overtime periods.
“I’m happy to not lose, but I would have liked to win because I feel like in the first half we were the better team,” Ralston Valley coach Kamee Morwood said. “They (A-West) came out with a little more spark in the second half. Once we got it going it was just a little too late. We had some chances that we just couldn’t finish.”
A-West (7-4-2, 3-2-1) finishes out conference play against Chatfield before a non-league game against Rock Canyon on Thursday, May 5. The Wildcats were sitting No. 20 in the RPI standings heading into the final week of the regular season.
“That would be ideal,” Gette said of grabbing a top-16 seed and first-round home game. “The biggest thing for us is we are pretty confident in whoever we play. Getting into the dance (state tournament) and getting better and better week-to-week is our goal.”
The Mustangs hit a bit of a lull after a 5-0-1 start where the Mustangs didn’t give up a goal. Ralston Valley are 1-4-1 in its last six games, but were No. 16 in the RPI heading into the final week of the regular season.
“I just want them to get to the point where they 100 percent believes in themselves going into the playoffs,” Morwood said. “We’ve got really good players and vision. We just have to believe it and finish out these last really hard games strongly.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.