Girls soccer: Injured Broomfield loses FRL title; remains optimistic for playoffs

May 2—BROOMFIELD — Jim Davidson's Broomfield girls' soccer team has been marred by injuries.

The timing of it couldn't be much worse, with the start of the postseason only days away.

On Thursday night, with the Front Range League title hanging in the balance at Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium, at least some solace eked out from Davidson following his team's 2-0 loss to Fossil Ridge.

"I'm without three starters. We're a different team when we're 100%," Davidson said. "That's why I'm really proud of this group. I thought they fought really hard. We had a little bit of siege mentality in the first half, then we challenged our girls to change their mentality. And they went and got the game in the second half. We could certainly make an argument that we were the better side in the second half."

No question, they were the aggressors.

Down three starters — all standouts, in defender Kayla Loughrey, forward Victoria Choren and leading scorer Marley Winston — and trailing 1-0, the Eagles dictated play after the break. Right up until play was halted in the 66th minute.

Head official Conor McGahey — moonlighting as a high school soccer ref when he's not doing play-by-play for the Avalanche or public address for the Broncos —stopped things to warn the Eagles about inappropriate language coming from their student section.

Abby Ballek scored moments later, the second Power Four commit to score for Fossil Ridge after defender Teagan Myers' goal off a corner in the 39th. Ballek is going to the University of Wisconsin and Myers is set to play at the University of Kentucky.

Davidson credited Ballek — calling her a special player who is on a "different level" — but admitted that he was "disappointed with our student body." The halt in play threw a wrench into things after a run of 15 minutes saw the Eagles build scoring chances.

"I think our girls deserve better from their own fans," Davidson said.

The focus now for Broomfield (12-2-1) shifts to the postseason.

If the Eagles — now eighth in CHSAA's official playoff rankings, which includes MaxPreps and RPI data — can advance, Davidson said he hopes to get back Loughrey and Choren at some point. He's less sure about Winston, who leads the team with 17 goals this spring.

Despite their first two losses of the season over the past week, coming against No. 15 Legacy and No. 2 Fossil Ridge, the Eagles are likely to nab a top-eight seed in the 5A 32-team bracket, which would guarantee them home-field advantage through the first two rounds.

"I think we talked a lot, especially at halftime, about our mentality," senior defender and captain Bella Ganiere said. "Obviously going down by one in the first half was rough, but I think we came out strong in the second half. It's kind of having that mindset going into the rest of our games."

Ganiere helped keep things scoreless late in the opening half while leading a defense Davidson said "bends, but doesn't break often."

About a minute ahead of Myers' near-post goal, she'd positioned herself perfectly in front of a point-blank chance in the middle of the box, aiding their 6-foot standout in net, Addy Colangelo.

But Myers then got lost in a crowd in front of the net, getting her head on one of several first-half corner chances by Fossil Ridge (11-1-2). The seeing-eye shot weaved through a pair of legs, then past a diving Colangelo before tucking inside the post.

Ballek sealed the Sabercats' second straight FRL title in the 66th. From atop the box, on a shot that appeared on fast-forward into the opposite corner of the net, Colangelo had no shot herself.

It was the sixth goal allowed by the junior this season and the first time she allowed more than one in a game. The result didn't favor how strong the University of Missouri commit played throughout the night.

"We just got to figure it out," she said, her eyes on the playoffs. "We got to lock-in."

Next, the Eagles await Colorado girls' soccer's Selection Sunday.

More low-key than the NCAA basketball's, this version has been known to send some players, coaches and fans to CHSAA's social media. Refreshing. Checking the internet. Refreshing again.

The Eagles are less anxious about it.

"We're all kind of just resting and getting ready for the upcoming games," Ganiere said. "We don't worry too much about who it's going to be. We just know we need to show out either way."