Golden Eagles hold top rank in 5A
Mountain Vista played its typical solid game and captured a key Continental League girls soccer victory.
The Golden Eagles, the top-ranked Class 5A team, used two first-half goals from Maddy Smith, relentless ball possession and a steadfast defense to pick up a 2-0 win over No. 4 Rock Canyon April 12 at Sports Authority Stadium.
The win gave the Golden Eagles a 6-0-0 Continental record and the league lead over Rock Canyon (5-1-0) and Highlands Ranch (3-1-0).
“I thought the girls played great,” said Mountain Vista coach Theresa Echtermeyer. “We had more of the play and possessed the ball very, very well. I felt all three lines did a great job, they really connected well from the back third, to the midfield third and carried on with a great attack in the attacking third.
“It was a great win. We had really good energy and pace.”
Smith got a nice centering pass from Amy Alexander and scored 14 minutes into the first half. She was opportunistic and added the second Mountain Vista goal when Jaguars goalkeeper Julia Henning lost control of the ball.
“It was a big night for her,” Echtermeyer said of Smith, who collected her fourth and fifth goals of the season.
Mountain Vista's defense, led by senior Mariel Adams, didn't allow Rock Canyon many quality shots. Jill Finnerty's attempt with five seconds left in the first half deflected over the Mountain Vista goal, and the Jaguars had another good chance in the second half, but Paige Von Bonk couldn't corral a pass in front of the goal.
Danielle Cushing made six saves for Mountain Vista in the first half and Torrel Stewart stopped three Rock Canyon shots in the final 40 minutes.
The win over Rock Canyon avenged a shootout loss to the Jaguars in last spring's quarterfinal state playoff game.
“It was a huge win,” said Echtermeyer. “Rock Canyon is a good rival, obviously. They are a quality team, ranked No. 4 right now.”
Rock Canyon played better in the second half, and coach Matt Henbest is looking ahead.
“We improved in the second half,” Henbest said. “Mountain Vista is a good team and played well. For us, it was a good opportunity to see the things we need to work on in preparation for the state tournament.
“It was a good test for our kids. It was good to see Mountain Vista because we know exactly what we will get next time. If we get to see them in the state tournament, we've already had a crack at them and there won't be any surprises.”
Mountain Vista (9-1-0) lost its first game of the season April 13 when Pine Creek earned a 1-0 upset non-league victory in Colorado Springs. The Golden Eagles were playing their third match in three days and a number of regular players didn't play in the game.
Rock Canyon (6-1-1 overall) stayed within a game of Mountain Vista in the league standings when the Jaguars beat Castle View, 2-1, in a makeup game on April 13. Finnerty scored both goals for Rock Canyon.