LAKEWOOD -- Wheat Ridge continues to have Green Mountain’s number on the girls’ soccer pitch.
The Farmers scored the game-winning goal in the 76th minute Wednesday at Lakewood Memorial Field to pull off a 1-0 victory. It was the Class 4A Jeffco League opener for both Wheat Ridge and Green Mountain.
“We knew going in it was going to be a really tough game,” Wheat Ridge senior Shelly Browne said. “I’m glad we were able to put it away. It came down to the end.”
Browne scored the game-winning goal with under five minutes to play in regulation time. Wheat Ridge sophomore Susan Whitney did most of the work to score the lone goal. Whitney raced up the field with the ball on a counter attack and fed the ball to Browne. The senior slipped a shot past Green Mountain senior goalie Lindsey Hendon for the game-winner.
“I just thought it was really well composed. Susan made the turn and took somebody on, but had the composure to see Shelly come open,” Wheat Ridge coach Dan Watkins said of the game-winning goal. “It’s a great goalkeeper (Hendon), great defense. To be able to sequence one together and put one in the net was a great goal.”
Green Mountain had given up just two goals in its pervious four games, including shutout victories against Brighton and Lakewood.
It was the first goal of the season for Browne, who leads the team with four assists so far for Wheat Ridge (4-2, 1-0 in league).
“It was awesome,” Browne said. “She (Whitney) just found an opening and played the perfect ball. I just tapped it right in.”
The conference rivals tied 0-0 in league play last season. Wheat Ridge pulled off the upset with a 2-1 victory in the second round of the 4A state tournament in the rematch against Green Mountain last year. The tie and loss to the Farmers were the only blemishes for the Rams last season.
“When you play good programs and programs that deserve your attention I think you come out and give it your best effort,” Watkins said. “To get the first one in league and put us in position to get some momentum after spring break bodes well for us.”
Wheat Ridge freshman goalkeeper Abby Bausch picked up her third victory in net for the Farmers this season. Bausch’s biggest save came in the 23rd minute when she snagged a shot on a one-on-one chance by Green Mountain junior Mia Dobbin.
“Sometimes you just react and don’t think. That is what goalkeepers do,” Watkins said. “We are throwing her (Bausch) into the fire and she has stood up to the challenge.”
Green Mountain (4-2, 0-1), ranked No. 9 in the latest CHSAANow.com 4A girls soccer poll, had its four-game winning streak snapped. The Rams opened the season with a 4-1 loss to 5A Jeffco’s Columbine, but reeled off victories against Dakota Ridge, Evergreen, Brighton and Lakewood before spring break.
The Rams, defending 4A Jeffco champs, get back into action when they face Denver South in a non-league game scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Green Mountain High School. The Rams return to conference play against Golden at 4 p.m. April 8, back at Lakewood Memorial.
Wheat Ridge’s next game is a league contest against Conifer at 6 p.m. Friday at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada.
“We can’t just sit here and enjoy one win,” Watkins said. “We’ve got to figure out how to get the next one.”