2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

5A Pine Creek and 3A St. Mary’s happy with No. 3 seed in playoffs

Published: May 4, 2014, 9:49 pm, by Scott Kaniewski

If there’s one thing Pine Creek girls’ soccer team needs to do to duplicate the success of its 5A state champion boys’ team, it is to play each minute they have left in 2014 with unblinking urgency.

After watching the boys need overtime in the semifinals, and double overtime in the finals, Eagles coach John Frederick knows his girls’ team can’t take any possession off in postseason play.

“We didn’t play with that edge all the time in the regular season and that has to change,” Frederick said. “You have to play with high energy and intensity or you’re going to get beat.”

On Sunday, Pine Creek was rewarded with a No. 3 seed in the Class 5A girls’ soccer playoffs after cruising through one of the toughest regular-season schedules in the state with a record of 12-2-1.

League rivals Doherty (7-7) finished one seed away from hosting a first-round game at No. 17 and will travel to face No.16 George Washington, while Liberty (10-4-1) felt the effects of a late-season loss against the Spartans and earned a No. 18 seed and a match against host Rangeview.

“We are very excited and pleased with the seed we got,” Frederick said. “We’d hoped for a top-four seed and we got it. But now we have to do the rest on the field. We can’t relax now.”

Tuesday (when all 5A play starts), the Eagles host Brighton out of the Eastern Metro Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs finished second with an 8-1 record in their league standings, but lost all six of their nonconference games.

Pine Creek was better. It beat Mountain Vista (No. 4) and Cherry Creek (No. 7) and was the top-ranked team in 5A before its first loss of the season came to Cheyenne Mountain in game 7 on the schedule.

Frederick said he has set up a time when the 2013 boys’ soccer team and soccer alumni from past teams will come in and talk to his girls’ team this week.

“I want the girls to hear what kind of mindset it takes to get a state title,” Frederick said. “Nothing will be handed to us.”

In 3A, St. Mary’s leads area schools with a No. 3 seed following a brilliant defensive season.

Anchored by converted goalie Tess Thomas, the Pirates gave up only two goals in eight league games. And in their nonconference schedule, they beat 3A No.1 Frontier Academy and 3A defending champ Peak to Peak.  

“I think our seed is pretty appropriate,” said St. Mary’s coach Gregg Braha, who is also the Colorado High School Coaches Association poll director.

At The Classical Academy, the eight-seed Titans will host No. 25 Colorado Springs School while No. 9 Manitou Springs squares off against No. 24 Bayfield. Meanwhile, Fountain Valley (No.17) and Evangelical Christian (No. 18) will head north to play their first-round games.

3A first-round games start Friday.