Cherry Creek soccer girls coach Jim Schneider jogged the memory of his team before the opening match of the Class 5A state playoffs against Doherty on May 9 at the Stutler Bowl.
Schneider reminded his players that the Bruins’ boys soccer team was seeded third last fall but was upset by No. 30 Fossil Ridge, 2-1, and ousted from the 2016 state playoffs.
Creek’s girls, seeded first, took care of business with a 7-0 victory over the Spartans who traveled to Greenwood Village from Colorado Springs as the No. 32 seed.
“The coaching staff was concerned about Doherty’s two big scorers, Jilian Lahey and Jaelyn Brown, and about our team taking them lightly,” admitted Schneider. “Seven goals by five different players and assists from five players is spreading the wealth.
“It was really a team victory. It took us 10 minutes to play through our nerves. Once we started to connect and possess the ball, my confidence grew.”
Juniors Anna Weinstein and BreZhane Walker each scored twice and senior Libby Geraghty had a goal and three assists for the Bruins, who improved to 15-0-1 on the season.
“We knew Doherty had some really strong players and would be a good opponent,” said Geraghty. “So we came out ready to play and we got the result we wanted. A decisive win over Doherty shows that our team is peaking at just the right moment.”
Geraghty, who has signed to play soccer at the University of Colorado, is the Bruins and Centennial League’s leading scorer with 21 goals and 51 points.
Senior Meg Halvorson, bound for the University of Denver soccer team, is another Bruins scoring threat with 11 goals and 36 points on the season.
The shutout over Doherty was the 11th in 16 games for a Creek defense led by junior keeper Mia Raben, senior defenders Natalie Evans, Devon Peterson and Hannah Mimmack, plus midfielder Allie Dwinnell.
Cherry Creek has outscored the opposition, 69-5, this season.
“The reason our team has been so successful is because we have been so close and committed to our game plan,” explained Geraghty. “We play such strong defense and have an incredible backline and goalie behind us.
“Our offense has been so dangerous because we have a team behind us that is dedicated to protecting our goal at all costs and has been able to get us the ball in dangerous situations."