Evergreen falls in state title game

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By Sullivan A

By Adam Sullivan
Sports Editor
COMMERCE CITY — Evergreen’s girls soccer team was down to its final minute on May 24 at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. The Cougars trailed D’Evelyn 1-0 with 1 minute, 8 seconds remaining on the scoreboard as Evergreen captain Sophia Weiner raced to midfield for a free kick.
Though on target, the shot was saved and eventually cleared by D’Evelyn defenders. With 23 seconds left in its season, Evergreen had one last chance as several shots were taken near the Jaguar goal, but Jaguar sophomore Bella Scaturo and teammates were able to clear the ball down field as time ticked away and the Jags began to celebrate their first girls soccer state title.
“I had such a rush of emotion,” said Scaturo. “Overall our team played great, Kiera Hess was amazing today in goal. I’m so proud of this team.”
Evergreen had been the underdog before entering the state playoffs as the No. 7-seed. Led by Weiner, the Cougars reached its first state title game since 1997, something these athletes will remember forever.
“It’s the most amazing feeling in the world,” Weiner said of reaching the state finals. “I never in a million years thought that we would be here this year. That’s not a diss on the team at all. It’s just not something that I felt we’d be able to do. I’m just so proud that we were able to be here, and I’m proud for my senior class that the last game was at this level.”
With the energy running high after introductions, the Cougars found themselves with a miscommunication error that proved costly. In the fifth minute, the Jaguars capitalized on an unusual Cougar error that left Laryssa Hamblen on a break away.
“I think we were kind of not on our toes in the beginning,” explained Evergreen senior Kate Athenour. “There was a miscommunication between the center backs. That girl took her opportunity, took it home and got the goal.”
In the first shot of the game, Hamblen fired away as her shot bounced off Evergreen goalie Sarah Staut’s hands and into the net.
“We work so well as a team,” an emotional Hamblen said after the win. “We all have had our moments. That goal just happened to be one of mine. I just pressed on and got a touch, one-on-one with the keeper, and it got by.”
Though in the lead, the Jaguars knew they couldn’t relax as Weiner was relentless on offense. The University of Virginia signee had three chances in the first half but couldn’t get a shot to fall.
“Sophia is such a great player,” said D’Evelyn head coach Paul Moline. “Our game plan was if we lost the ball, get a player on her as quick as possible. At times we did and times we didn’t. She’s an incredibly crafty player and still found her chances.”
Like many in the playoffs, those chances were stopped by Jaguar goalie Kiera Hess, who led her team with three straight shutout wins.
“She has been stellar,” Moline said. “She has been unbeatable and owned that box this post-season.”
The state championship is D’Evelyn’s first in girls soccer as the Jaguars finished its season 16-3-1 to earn a spot in the history books.
“It’s amazing,” Moline said while holding back tears. “This year is special. We had so many close games this season, to make it this far and win it was just truly amazing.”
Evergreen finished the year with a 13-7 record in Peter Jeans’ first season back as head coach. Though his team didn’t bring home a state title, this team’s journey will be one to remember forever.
“This team was special,” said Jeans. “It was a special team to work with. I wouldn’t have missed any one of these games. These last three weeks were just special.”