ARVADA -- It took awhile, but in the end Wheat Ridge sophomore Frankee Broer was in the middle of a group hug celebration Wednesday night at the North Area Athletic Complex.
Broer scored the game-winning goal in the second minute of overtime for a 3-2 victory against Discovery Canyon. The win advanced the No. 6-seeded Farmers (12-4 record) and Class 4A Jeffco League champions into the second round of the 4A girls’ soccer state tournament.
“They are a group that as been successful by sticking together, battling and competing,” Wheat Ridge coach Dan Watkins said. “That is what it takes to win a game like this. I couldn’t be prouder.”
A lightning delay of 1 hour, 15 minutes just before the start of the overtime period forced the Farmers and Thunder to wait out the stoppage. Marble-size hail also fell before the lightning passed through.
“It was just really good energy,” Broer said of the Farmers’ attitude waiting out the delay. “Everyone was really excited to get back out there and get that goal. We knew we were going to get it. It was amazing.”
Wheat Ridge kicked the ball deep into the Thunder’s defensive zone to start the overtime period. It was a planned strategy by Watkins.
“Our plan to put the ball in their corner and make Discovery Canyon build out of the back,” Watkins said. “It was great work in the corner to get the ball. It was a great service by Carolyn (Swanson) and then Alex (Nillen) took the shot that got deflected back to Frankee (Broer) and she one-timed it.”
Alexandra Nillen’s initial shot was saved by Thunder goalie Madalyn Smalley, but Broer hammered home the rebound into the back of the net. She was then dog piled on by her teammates.
Wheat Ridge needed a goal from junior Roma Sandburg with 2:02 left in regulation time to even force overtime.
Wheat Ridge had a number of corner kicks in the final five minutes of regulation time trailing 2-1. The Farmers weren’t able to convert the set plays, but Sandburg came to the rescue with a long shot that sailed under the cross bar to tie the game at 2-2.
“I knew we needed something. We needed a lucky shot,” Sandburg said. “I had an opportunity. I just took it and luckily it went in. That boosted our energy.”
After a scoreless first half, Wheat Ridge took the lead a 1-0 in the 54th minute. Junior Carlee Flanagan hammered a low shot past Smalley. Nillen picked up an assist on the goal.
The Thunder answered five minutes later in the 59th minute. A high shot from junior Jamie Keith got through the hands of Wheat Ridge freshman goalie Abby Bausch to tie the game at 1-1. Discovery Canyon took the lead in the 69th minute with some fancy footwork by Sherry Langseth. The junior forward worked past a few Farmer defenders and fired a high shot into the back of the net for a 2-1 Thunder lead.
“Obviously, they play in that Pikes Peak League where there is very good soccer,” Watkins said. “They battle with everybody and have been very, very tested. I take my hat off to them. They were tenacious.”
Discovery Canyon (7-8-1) actually tied top-seeded Cheyenne Mountain during conference play.
The Farmers will see another Pikes Peak team in the second round. Wheat Ridge will host No. 11-seeded Palmer Ridge (9-5-1) on Saturday at the NAAC.
“It boosts our confidence a lot going into the next round,” Sandburg said of defeating Discovery Canyon.