PARKER | It took all the way until the Class 5A state semifinals for the Grandview girls soccer team to face a halftime deficit, but the Wolves clearly know what to do coming out of the lockerroom.
Top-seeded Grandview trailed No. 5 Mountain Vista 2-1 at halftime Saturday at windy and wet EchoPark Stadium only to launch a second half scoring barrage that has become commonplace for them this postseason on its way to a 4-2 victory.
Seniors Natalie Beckman and Lauren Juul scored back-to-back goals to put the Wolves in the lead and junior Tori Parker’s quick-reaction tally provided some insurance as coach Tari Wood’s team earned its way into the 5A state championship game for the third time in the past four seasons.
Grandview (16-0-3) is set to face No. 2 Broomfield (18-0-1) — which rallied to beat No. 3 Rock Canyon 3-2 in the second semifinal — in the 5A state final, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 23 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. It’s a rematch of the 2015 state championship game won by the Wolves 2-0.
Wood’s team has demonstrated a deep and diverse offensive attack all season long, but no moreso than in the second half of its four postseason contests.
The Wolves scored four times in the second half in a 6-1 win over No. 32 Pine Creek in the opening round, which they followed with four-goal second half in a 6-0 win over No. 17 Boulder in the second round and a five-goal outburst to break open a scoreless tie for a 5-0 quarterfinal win over No. 8 Rocky Mountain.
Senior Morgan Szarka scored in the opening half, but Grandview still found itself trailing against the Golden Eagles, who beat the Wolves in last season’s semifinals went on to win the state title on penalty kicks.
In the 45th minute, Grandview pulled even when a handball call set up a long free kick attempt that Beckman drilled into the top corner of the Mountain Vista net.
Four minutes later, junior Lauren Holleran played a Beckman corner kick that sailed over the goal back across the field to Juul, who lofted a shot as she backpedaled that hit Golden Eagles’ keeper Baileigh Baker in the hand and went into the net.
Grandview kept up the pressure and scored again when Juul hit a cross to Parker, who swung her right leg high and deflected the ball just inside the goalpost for a two-goal lead.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports
(1) GRANDVIEW 4, (5) MOUNTAIN VISTA 2
Score by halves:
Mtn. Vista 2 0 — 2
Grandview 1 3 — 4
Grandview goals: Natalie Beckman, Lauren Juul (GWG), Tori Parker, Morgan Szarka. Grandview assists: Beckman, Juul. Grandview saves: Reagan McCombs (9 shots on goal-7 saves), Madi Livingston (2 shots on goal-2 saves)