Prep soccer playoffs: Grand Valley taking things one game at a time
PARACHUTE — Everyone on the Grand Valley High School girls soccer team is well aware of how the brackets look in the Class 3A state playoffs.
It’s pretty difficult for the Cardinals (13-2-0) not to notice their possible second-round opponent, the Coal Ridge Titans. After all, Coal Ridge (14-1-0), the host of the first and second rounds and the winner of the Class 3A Western Slope League title for the second consecutive season, is Grand Valley’s biggest rival.
Not so fast, Grand Valley coach Scott Gregory says. There’s a pretty dang important game today, too.
“Front Range Christian is no slouch. At all,” said Gregory, whose team opens the postseason at 4 p.m. today against the Falcons (9-3-3) at The Pasture on the Coal Ridge High School campus. “They’ve got a great a great record, and they finished third in a very tough league. They’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
The winner of that game between the Cardinals and Falcons will move into Saturday afternoon’s second round against the winner between Coal Ridge and The Pinnacle (12-3-0), with that match taking place at 6 p.m. Friday. Another area high school team, Roaring Fork (12-2-1), will be playing its first-round playoff opener against Kent Denver at 4 p.m. today at Peak to Peak High School in Lafayette.
Granted, Grand Valley would love nothing more than to advance past the first round — much like the Cardinals did last year before suffering a convincing second-round loss to host Kent Denver. The Cardinals, however, must first get past a tough Front Range Christian squad today.
And those players are well aware of that, too.
“They’re very focused on what’s ahead,” said Gregory, who was an assistant coach last season before taking the head coaching job this year. “Their end goal is to win a state championship, but they’re well aware that there’s a lot more to worry about before we get to that point.”
One player the Cardinals have to worry about today will be Falcons junior Jalissa DeHaan, whose 12 goals are a team high. Front Range Christian is also allowing just 1.2 goals per game, which ranks 12th among Class 3A girls soccer teams this year.
The Cardinals counter with senior striker Ashlynn Speakman, whose 32 goals this season are the best in 3A and is tied for the best in all of Colorado. This past Monday, Speakman signed a letter of intent to play for Division II Fort Lewis College in Durango in the fall.
This branch of the tournament features four of the top goal scorers in all of Colorado. Leading the way for Coal Ridge is Paige Ryan — whose 26 goals are ranked sixth in 3A and 11th in Colorado — and sophomore Jade Gallegos of The Pinnacle, who is ranked second in 3A and fourth in the state with 29 goals.
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Coal Ridge 69, Grand Junction Central 23