We are the (Aurora) champions…Grandview girls soccer team

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Members of the Grandview girls soccer team pose with the Class 5A state championship trophy they won on May 25, 2016, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The top-seeded Wolves defeated No. 6 Mountain Vista 2-1 to finish the season undefeated and become the first 5A team since Heritage in 1991 and 1992 to win back-to-back titles. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | City teams and athletes won a combined four team championships and 12 individual events in the final weeks of the 2016 spring prep sports season. Here’s a look at one of Aurora’s state team champions, the Grandview girls soccer team, the Class 5A state champion for the second year in a row:

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

Grandview junior Avianne Burris (5) celebrates with teammates after she scored the go-ahead goal for the Grandview girls soccer team in its 2-1 victory over Mountain Vista in the Class 5A girls state soccer championship game on May 25, 2016, at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Grandview junior Avianne Burris (5) celebrates with teammates after she scored the go-ahead goal for the Grandview girls soccer team in its 2-1 victory over Mountain Vista in the Class 5A girls state soccer championship game on May 25, 2016, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

GRANDVIEW: 5A GIRLS SOCCER STATE CHAMPION

Repeat state championships in Colorado girls soccer — especially in Class 5A — have been very rare, but the Grandview girls soccer team was undaunted by the prospect of trying to defend the crown it won in 2015. Coach Tari Wood knew her Wolves would have targets on their backs for the entire 2016 season, but were well-equipped to handle it with a deep, young talent base that lost just a few regulars from last season’s title team and seemed ready to elevate its level of play as they sought to become the first 5A team to win consecutive championships since Heritage (Wood’s alma mater) in 1991 and 1992. Grandview got through a tough regular season unbeaten — with only an early season tie with Mountain Vista keeping it from a perfect record — downed the two other 5A undefeated teams (Cherokee Trail and Columbine) in the final week of a packed regular season and rolled through the playoffs into the semifinals, where sophomore Morgan Szarka scored a late goal to send the Wolves past Broomfield into the state championship game.

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Grandview junior Nicole Lyubenko, top, jumps into a celebration featuring Avianne Burris, fist raised, after Burris scored the go-ahead goal in the second half of the 5A state championship game. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

The Wolves found themselves face-to-face with Mountain Vista again and took an early lead when senior Melanie Jenkins — who scored three of her four goals on the season in the playoffs and tied with junior Jessica Hixson for the most goals for Grandview in the postseason — headed in a pass from senior Mandi Duggan. The advantage lasted just a short time, however, as a penalty kick chance evened the game as the Golden Eagles tallied the only goal against Grandview in its last nine playoff games.

Tactical changes in the second half helped the Wolves defense keep Mountain Vista from any outstanding chances until Grandview got one of its own with just under 20 minutes left in regulation. Duggan pushed the ball into Mountain Vista’s end, dribbled through a trio of defenders and her last move sent the ball out into open space, where she and junior Avianne Burris arrived on it at the same time. With momentum, Burris lofted a left-footed shot towards the back post that curled over the head of Golden Eagles’ goalie Kylee Love and into the net for the go-ahead score.

Grandview's Melanie Jenkins, left, Madalynn Germann, center, and Mandi Duggan share the Class 5A state championship trophy after the Wolves' win in the Class 5A girls state soccer championship game on May 25, 2016, at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Grandview’s Melanie Jenkins, left, Madalynn Germann, center, and Mandi Duggan share the Class 5A state championship trophy. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Junior defender Taylor Parker stopped a goal with a header following a corner kick chance and sophomore goalkeeper Reagan McCombs made four saves to secure the win as Grandview — the first undefeated 5A state champion since Chatfield in 2011 — improved to 35-0-1 dating back to its last loss in March of 2015. The Wolves also fulfilled their season mantra of “DOT.,” which means “Defend Our Title.,” which followed up “GAS” — “Get A Star” — last season.

Full Class 5A girls state soccer championship game recap, here.

Class 5A girls state soccer championship game photo gallery, here.

Final Class 5A girls state soccer playoff results, here.