Plenty of prep playoff action on tap this week
By Phil Sandoval
Post Independent Staff
State playoff berths and championship medals will be at stake this weekend for area spring sports teams as the prep sports year begins winding down.
The Rifle girls soccer team opens the 4A state playoffs at 4 p.m. today in Golden for a regional-round contest. The game will be played at the Northern Area Athletic Complex, located at 62nd Street and Highway 93 in Golden.
The Bears (6-7-1) advanced to the playoffs by capturing third place in the Western Slope League.
Last season Rifle downed Brighton 5-1 in the regional round to advance to the state tournament round. The Front Range was not kind to Rifle in 2003 as the Bears fell 7-0 to Mullen.
Golden (13-1-1), the runner-up from the 4A Jefferson County League this season, is ranked No. 7 in the latest Rocky Preps girls soccer poll. Heading into today’s contest the Demons have fashioned an 11-game winning streak, with three shutouts in their last five games.
Forward Sarah Martinez is Golden’s main offensive threat. The Demon senior is the third-most prolific scorer in 4A with 25 goals and 13 assists.
Preps: see page 13
On the opposite side of the field, Rifle goalie Katie LaRocque finished the regular season with five shutouts.
Roaring Fork (5-5-0) is one of two area teams advancing to the state 3A playoffs. The Rams, who finished third in the WSL, host Denver Christian (10-4-0), which finished fifth in the perennial-powerhouse Metropolitan League.
That game will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in Carbondale
The Crusaders feature one of the state’s best goal scorers of the classification in junior forward Chrissy West. In 15 games, West has scored 21 goals. Another DC player worthy of the Rams’ attention is forward Michelle Koele (9 goals, 5 assists).
Basalt, the regular-season WSL champion, earned a first-round playoff bye and will host a playoff game next week. The Longhorns’ opponent will be announced on Sunday.
Roaring Fork (9-6), with a 15-6 first-round win over Gunnison Tuesday, has advanced to Friday’s 3A district tournament semifinals against No. 1 seeded Olathe.
The game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at Volunteer Park in Paonia.
A win over the Pirates assures the Rams a berth in the 3A state playoffs and a shot at winning the district title on Saturday. If Roaring Fork falls to Olathe, it faces the loser of Friday’s Hotchkiss-Eagle Valley semifinal at 11 a.m. Saturday for third place for the final state playoff spot.
In Class 4A, Rifle (13-4), seeded 17th in the 32-team regional tournament, opens the playoffs on Saturday with a regional game against No. 16 Pueblo Centennial at 10 a.m. at Niwot High School. The winner plays either No. 1 Niwot or No. 32 Sand Creek at 3 p.m.
Winning teams from the eight regional games played this weekend move on to next week’s double-elimination state playoffs.
Glenwood Springs, the only area school to field a boys swim team, wraps up its season at the 4A state meet at Mountain View High School in Loveland.
It’s the second straight year Demons Damian Gucwa and Jonathan Jay have qualified for the big show. Both swimmers need to advance from Friday’s event preliminaries for a chance at earning a state medal on Saturday.
Gucwa is among Colorado’s best swimmers in both events the junior is scheduled to compete in. Gucwa has the second-fastest time among 4A 100-yard breast-strokers at 1 minute, 1.84 seconds and is among the top eight swimmers in the butterfly (55.98).
At the 2003 state meet, Gucwa finished sixth in both events.
Jay has posted season-best marks of 1:56.22 in the 200-yard freestyle and 5:22.60 in the 500 free.
Glenwood and Roaring Fork will go after elusive 4A state championship spots at this weekend’s 10-team Western Regional tournament at the Elliott Tennis Center court at Mesa State College starting at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
Two players from each of the three singles and four doubles tournaments advance to next weekend’s state tournament in Pueblo.
But the method for earning one of those two berths is treacherous. Challenge matches are permitted at each bracket, ensuring nail-biting finishes on Saturday.
Track and Field
Three area teams will travel to Grand Junction for the two-day Tiger Invitational meet, which begins Friday afternoon at Stocker Stadium. The Tiger Invite gives athletes a final opportunity to prequalify for the state meet.
Glenwood, Rifle and a handful of Basalt athletes will be on hand when the meet starts at 4:30 p.m.Glenwood, Rifle and a handful of Basalt athletes will be on hand when the meet starts at 4:30 p.m.
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