LAKEWOOD — D’Evelyn sophomore forward Laryssa Hamblen didn’t have her normal jump in her step Thursday at Lakewood Memorial Field.
“My stomach and head, I felt like I was going to pass out most of the game,” Hamblen said after a narrow 1-0 victory for the Jaguars over Golden. “In the long run I knew we needed the win. I did what I could.”
D’Evelyn coach Paul Moline kept his leading goal scorer on the bench to start the second half in a scoreless girls soccer Class 4A Jeffco League match. However, Hamblen gave a nod to Moline saying she was feeling well enough to get back on the field.
With overtime possibly looming, Hamblen finally got the Jaguars on the board in the 77th minute. Sophomore Bella Scaturro made a nice run from her middle defensive position and slipped a pass forward to Hamblen.
“That was awesome,” Hamblen said of the assist from Scaturro on the game-winning goal. “She dribbled all the way up. That was awesome.”
Hamblen made one cut before firing a low shot past Golden freshman goalie Katie Hageman, who was forced to make several saves. D’Evelyn, ranked No. 6 in the latest CHSAANow.com 4A girls soccer poll, control possession for the majority of the conference battle.
“It was just a little defensive breakdown,” Hageman said of the lone goal. “We recovered really quickly, just not quick enough. We almost had it.”
D’Evelyn (7-0-1 record) is 2-0 in conference play, but both games have been narrow 1-0 victories.
“That was pins and needles, but we stayed pretty positive,” Moline said. “You could feel it coming. You just hope it isn’t one of those games where you have a lot of the play, then there is a counter and its in the back of your net.”
D’Evelyn sophomore Kiera Hess picked up the victory in net. The Jaguars has given up just four goals in their first eight games. However, it was a little frustrating for D’Evelyn that it couldn’t get more than one goal against the Demons.
“Credit to Golden, very organized and strong defensively. They are a physical team and make you work for it,” Moline said. “The runs were there. The balls were there. We just could not finish. Give the goalkeeper (Hageman) credit. She was really, really good today.”
The next two games will be huge for D’Evelyn. The Jaguars face No. 4 and rival Wheat Ridge at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lakewood Memorial. The conference game was originally scheduled for April 4, but was postponed because of the snowstorm that hit last week.
“I still have yet to beat Wheat Ridge,” said Moline about facing his good friend and Wheat Ridge coach Dan Watkins this weekend. “As long as we come out and play a good game that’s all I can ask for. It will be fun.”
D’Evelyn travels to Highlands Ranch on Tuesday, April 18, to face No. 2 Valor Christian in another key 4A Jeffco showdown that will help determine the conference champion in the deepest 4A league in the state.
The top two finishers in 4A Jeffco earn automatic bids for the 32-team state tournament. The rest will have to battle it out to finish high enough in the RPI standings that will fill out the remaining 17 postseason tournament spots.
Golden (3-6, 0-2) entered Thursday’s game with some ground to make up in the RPI standings. The Demons sat in the 42nd spot, but can get back into the playoff hunt if they can score some upsets against the likes of Wheat Ridge, Standley Lake and Valor — all teams with winning records — over the next two weeks.
“We need it,” Golden coach Luke Vanderglas said while admitting it’s a tough road ahead. “We’ve got to go through a lot of great teams to make it to the playoffs. We are confident in this group. They are getting stronger each game.”