COMMERCE CITY — D'Evelyn can add its name to the plethora of Jeffco League teams who have won a girls soccer state championships.
The Jaguars defeated rival Jeffco rival Evergreen 1-0 on Wednesday night in the Class 4A title game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to claim the first girls soccer state title in the program’s history.
“I just had a complete rush of emotion,” said D’Evelyn sophomore Bella Scaturro, who had a couple of key clears in the final minutes to preserve the 1-goal victory. “I’m so happy. I’m so proud of us. I couldn’t ask for more from this team.”
The lone goal in the championship game came early. D’Evelyn’s leading scorer, sophomore Laryssa Hamblen, put in her 20th goal of the season in the 5th minute. Hamblen put pressure on an Evergreen clearing attempt. The ball rocketed off Hamblen to create a breakaway on Evergreen sophomore goalie Sarah Straut.
“I just kept pushing through and was able to get a touch to get a one-on-one with the keeper. I managed to slip it in,” Hamblen said. “Honestly, I was kind of shocked when it happened. I wasn’t sure where the ball was at first, then I saw it in front of me. I just hit it hard enough.”
Straut was able to get a hand on the shot, but enough to keep it from getting across the goal-line.
“It’s just work,” D’Evelyn coach Paul Moline said of Hamblen’s goal. “We talked about that today because we knew it was going to be a battle back-and-forth all game. There were going to be those individual battles all over the field.”
Evergreen (13-7) had a flurry of chances in the final 13 minutes, including a few corners and direct free kicks off the foot of Evergreen senior Sofia Weiner that nearly tied the game up. The University of Virginia-bound Weiner felt that the Cougars had more scoring chances, but couldn’t find a way to score on D’Evelyn sophomore goalie Kiera Hess.
“She (Hess) has been stellar,” Moline said of Hess, who recored her third straight shutout victory in the Jaguars’ third straight 1-0 playoff victory. “All the way through the playoffs she has been unbeatable. She has owned that box.”
Hess admitted it was a little stressful holding a 1-0 lead for the majority of the game. She gave a lot of credit to her teammates.
“I had a really good team in front of me,” Hess said. “You can’t win a game unless you score.”
D’Evelyn (16-3-1) actually placed fourth in the brutally tough 4A Jeffco League this season. Valor, Wheat Ridge and Evergreen — all 4A state quarterfinalists — finished ahead of the Jaguars in the conference standings.
In the league game between D’Evelyn and Evergreen on April 26, the Cougars pulled out a 3-2 victory.
“To make it through Jeffco was extremely difficult this year,” Moline said. “To make it all the way to here was even harder. I think our league pepped us for a game like this. We played so many good, tight soccer games this year against quality opponents and quality coaches.”
It hasn’t been rare to have an all-Jeffco soccer final in either 4A or 5A. Wheat Ridge and Valor faced off in three straight 4A title games from 2009 to 2011. In 5A, Columbine and Ralston Valley battled it out at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park just three years ago in 2014.
“Overall as a team this season we were able to unify as a team and we were more cohesive. It worked out for us in the end,” Hamblen said. “Now that we know that this team can do it, we can do it again.”
Evergreen also had an interesting ride before getting hot for its strong playoff run. It was the first time the Cougars and longtime coach Peter Jeans made it to a girls soccer championship game since Evergreen won the 4A title in 1997.
“It’s incredible. If you asked any of us in the middle of the season if we would be here today, I’m pretty sure all of us would have said you are crazy,” Weiner said. “We really picked it up at the end of the season and our chemistry really came together.”