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ARVADA — There was one guarantee May 5 at the North Area Athletic Complex: Evergreen’s girls soccer team would be bringing the Class 4A Jeffco League plaque home for the third time in four years.
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The Cougars — No. 1 in the CHSAANow.com 4A rankings for the seventh straight week — swept through their conference schedule outscoring opponents 42-2 while going 9-0 in league play. It is Evergreen’s third conference title over the past four years.
“I think that is what every high school athlete in general wants to do,” Evergreen senior Elizabeth Rapp said of the Cougars claiming another league title. “It’s a dream come true really. We didn’t get to play our sophomore year because of COVID, but we got our three. I’m very proud of this team.
Evergreen (13-1-1, 9-0 in 4A Jeffco) had one final tune-up before the 32-team 4A state tournament begins next week with a non-league game against Ralston Valley (8-4-3, 3-3-1 in 5A Jeffco). The Mustangs were coming off a big 2-1 come-from-behind victory against No. 2 Broomfield on Tuesday.
“We love this game against Ralston Valley,” Evergreen coach Peter Jeans said. “They are a very sporting team. They play hard as well. They play at a high level and that is the kind of atmosphere we want to have in a game as we approach the playoffs.”
After 80 minutes of regulation-time and a pair of 10-minute overtime periods neither team could find the back of the net with the game ending in a 0-0 scoreless draw.
“It was one of our hardest games of the season and we came out with a well-fought draw,” Evergreen senior Elizabeth Rapp said. “It’s definitely a game I’m glad we were able to play right before playoffs.”
Evergreen has been on the doorstep to winning the program’s first girls soccer state championship since winning the 4A title back in 1997, but hasn’t been able to hoist the ultimate prize. The Cougars lost to Holy Family 2-1 in the title game last season and fell to Cheyenne Mountain 2-1 in the 4A title game in 2019.
“We need to stay even stronger,” Elizabeth said about winning that elusive state title. “We’ve lost it twice those other two years that we won the 4A Jeffco League. This year we are going to put our heads down and try to finish it out.”
The Cougars having been playing well with only a loss to 5A Jeffco’s Columbine back in early April as their lone defeat this season. Evergreen is currently on a 6-game shutout streak behind sophomore goalie Aubrey Huerta.
Evergreen grabbed the No. 2 seed for the 4A state tournament. The Cougars were scheduled to host No. 31 Pueblo County at 6 p.m. May 11 at Evergreen High School.
“It’s just about making key plays at key times,” Jeans said of success in the postseason. “You need to make sure the ball doesn’t go into the back of your net and one special play can put it into the back of your opponent’s net.”
Evergreen was shorthanded last Thursday with one-third of the Rapp triplets out. Catherine Rapp, the Cougars’ leading scorer, was out with a non-COVID related illness. She should be ready to go when the playoff being with first-round games May 11.
While Catherine wasn’t on the pitch against Ralston Valley, her jersey did make an appearance.
“There are three of us so sometimes our laundry gets a little bit mixed up,” Elizabeth said with a laugh about wearing Catherine’s No. 15 jersey instead of Elizabeth’s normal No. 7. “I must have not looked at the number and grabbed her’s.”
Ralston Valley is headed to the 5A state tournament. The Mustangs took the No. 13 seed and was scheduled to host Rocky Mountain on Tuesday, May 10, after press deadline, at the NAAC.
The Mustangs have had a rollercoaster season. They started the season 5-0-1 and on a 6-game shutout streak. However, Ralston Valley went on an 0-3-1 stretch before winning its 5A Jeffco League finale against Dakota Ridge this week and then upsetting Broomfield.
“It’s up, down and all around. That is all I’ll say,” Ralston Valley coach Kamee Morwood said after the tie. “I think our girls are tired having played six games in the last 10 days against some really good teams.”
Ralston Valley was No. 13 in the RPI standings after the tie against Evergreen.
“We can get hot,” Morwood said. “After this we’ll see who we face first round. They have proven they can do it. It’s up to them believing it and doing it.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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