Mountain Vista capitalizes on chances to beat Arapahoe, win 5A girls soccer title

Mountain Vista girls soccer

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

COMMERCE CITY — When time had run out, Mountain Vista coach Theresa Echtermeyer stood on the sideline looking at something that never gets old for her.

A group of remarkable young women had come together to put together 80 minutes of championship soccer.

Her Golden Eagles had just beaten Arapahoe 3-1. For the fourth time in school history, they're bringing home a Class 5A girls soccer state championship.

"It's really special to watch kids have a dream like that come true," she said. "It's amazing."

She had stood on the very grass at Dick's Sporting Goods Park a year ago with a completely different feeling. It was Grandview celebrating a title then, not Mountain Vista.

And in the first five minutes of the game, there was fear that the Golden Eagles (17-2-1 overall) were going to come up short again. Arapahoe had an open look at the net.

It slammed off the post.

They had another wide-open opportunity, but the ball was kicked out of the box by a defender. Early on, the Warriors (15-5) had control of the game.

"I saw them getting momentum at the beginning of the game and I got nervous," forward Katie Joella said. "I knew our team could come back and get the win."

So they just grabbed that momentum away from the Warriors.

Katie Harris went to put the ball in front of Arapahoe keeper Grace Caddorette, who attempted to scoop it up and end the threat.

Mountain Vista girls soccer

Mountain Vista's Katie Joella. (Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

But Arapahoe defender Sydney Maxson got tangled up with Joella and the ball squeezed free and rolled into the net.

The Golden Eagles nearly had another one as a shot off the crossbar shot straight down, but it was waved off.

It wouldn't matter.

In the 30th minute, another cross in front of the Arapahoe goal made got by Barker and found the foot of Taeya Schueppert who had nothing but green grass between her and the net.

"I just couldn't believe it," Schueppert said. "I just knew because it was state, I wanted to score for my team and for my sister (senior Haley Schueppert) and everyone else. It was the greatest feeling ever, knowing I scored and helped the team."

But she wasn't done.

She added another goal in the 57th minute of the game and with a three goal pad, all the Golden Eagles had to do was milk the clock.

When her second goal went in and the Golden Eagles grabbed a three-goal lead, they could feel championship gold coming their way.

"I was making sure that I wasn't fully saying that," Schueppert said. "But I was pretty confident at that point."

Even down 3-0, the Warriors never stopped fighting. Maxson was able to put one in the net to make it a 3-1 game and not once did they think they were out of the game.

"I feel like this is a team that is incredibly resilient," coach Mark Hampshire said. "The senior leadership with this crew is hard to explain. This is a senior group that has witnessed an incredible school tragedy. The power of that resilience... nothing is out of reach."

But by the time they had been able to regain the momentum they had early in the game, it was too late. Mountain Vista had put too much pressure on and not given the Warriors enough time to recover.

It is the first state title since 2013 for Mountain Vista. The seniors were in eighth grade at the time.

Perhaps with this win, they have inspired kids who may be in eighth grade right now to put forth the effort to come away with a title. Because on the first night of May where it truly felt summer, the seniors left Dick's Sporting Goods Park high on emotion.

"It's the greatest feeling I've ever had," Joella said. "It's amazing."