ARVADA — There’s nothing like getting back-to-back victories against area rivals to inject some confidence and momentum.
That was the case this week for Standley Lake’s boys soccer. The Gators suffered a pair of shutout losses to start the season, but got a big boost this week with victories over former Class 5A Jeffco League opponents Ralston Valley and Arvada West.
“Since I was a freshman, we haven’t beaten these two programs,” Standley Lake senior captain Adam Williams said after a 2-1 victory Thursday against A-West. “Beating Ralston Valley and Arvada West in the same week is big time. We couldn’t have gotten it done without everyone’s help on the field. We played as a family.”
After a dramatic goal with eight seconds left in regulation time earned a 3-2 win over Ralston Valley on Tuesday at the North Area Athletic Complex, the Gators returned to the NAAC on Thursday to face the three-time defending 5A Jeffco champions in A-West.
Williams set up the eventual game-winning goal, serving a free kick to junior Ryan Carlin four minutes into the second half. Carlin was able to head the ball into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead for the Gators.
“It’s very big. We were banged up at the beginning of the season. We had adversity those first two games (losses),” Standley Lake coach Jeff Vigil said of the back-to-back wins this week. “The boys were resilient. We played two very good teams and came out victorious in both of them.”
Standley Lake struck first Thursday in the 24th minute with a goal from junior Kyle Iftodi. Senior Cody Calcagno picked up the assist sending a ball into Iftodi who ended up with a one-on-one chance with A-West goalie Andy Fendel.
“Adam and Cody are our senior leaders,” Vigil said of his senior captains that picked up assists on both goals. “They have been starting since they were freshmen. They are our backbone and doing a great job.”
A-West had plenty of possession and scoring chances, but could only manage one goal. Sophomore Luke Drumright was able to float a high shot from a tough angle over Standley Lake goalie Kevin Griebel for the Wildcats’ lone goal in the 36th minute.
“It just wasn’t bouncing our way and we couldn’t finish,” A-West coach Troy Gette said. “We weren’t strong enough in the box to win those balls.”
The Wildcats had a few scoring chances in the closing minutes, but Standley Lake’s defense denied a game-tying goal.
“We’ve lost a lot in the past couple seasons on late goals. It’s not going to happen this year,” Williams said. “We are going to defend as a team and get the win.”
A-West (2-2) got off to a strong 2-0 start with wins over Golden and Mountain Range, but has now dropped two straight. The Wildcats take a trip to Fort Collins this weekend for a noon game Saturday against Rocky Mountain. The Lobos are ranked No. 10 in this week’s CHSAANow.com 5A boys soccer rankings.
Because of a drop in enrollment, Standley Lake (2-2) will play in 4A Jeffco for the current two-year cycle. The Gators held their own in 5A Jeffco last season placing fourth and getting a first-round playoff victory to boot.
“I know Evergreen, Wheat Ridge and Valor Christian are all very good,” Vigil said of playing in the new conference. “You know, 4A Jeffco is tough as well.”
Standley Lake has one more non-league game scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, at Holy Family before beginning its conference schedule.