LAKEWOOD — Arvada West has to play the waiting game after finishing off its regular season Monday night at Lakewood Memorial Field.
The three-time defending Class 5A Jeffco League champions scored a 2-0 victory against Lakewood. The win locked up a postseason berth for the Wildcats (9-6, 6-1 in league).
“We did what we had to do in winning out,” A-West coach Troy Gette said of his team winning four straight conference games after losing to league-leading Ralston Valley in overtime two weeks ago. “As long as we are getting better and building momentum toward the playoffs that’s our goal at this point.”
Ralston Valley (8-5, 6-0) plays its league finale against Columbine at 4 p.m. Friday at Lakewood Memorial. The Mustangs scored four second-half goals Monday night at the North Area Athletic Complex to defeat Bear Creek 4-0 for their eighth straight victory and come one win away from running the league table.
Columbine, No. 10 in this week’s CHSAANow.com 5A boys soccer poll, and Chatfield are also in the mix for postseason bids.
“It shows you how good (5A) Jeffco is this year,” A-West junior goalie Andy Fendel said of the balance in the conference this season. “I think realistically we could have four or five teams in the playoffs this year. It will be really interesting to see how the seeding shakes out.”
A-West has had a rollcoaster season. The Wildcats went through a five-game losing streak during a 10-day stretch in early September, but closed the regular season winning seven of eight games.
The Wildcats kept their positive momentum going Monday against Lakewood (6-8, 4-3). The Tigers had won four straight coming into Monday’s game and were eyeing a fifth to claim one of the three automatic playoff bids 5A Jeffco receives. The remainder of the squads will have to hope they get one of the 11 at-large bids.
“Both teams knew what they were playing for,” Gette said. “It was a playoff atmosphere game.”
A-West broke the scoreless tie late in the first half. Sophomore Brendan Patterson knocked in a rebound off a header from junior teammate Kyler Fowkes in the 38th minute. Lakewood senior Sergio Gomez tried to clear the shot from Patterson right at the goal line, but the sideline official ruled the ball crossed the line.
“It went in by a couple of inches,” Fowkes said. “It was past the line.”
Fowkes found the back of the net in the 68th minute scoring his team-leading 10th goal of the season to give the Wildcats a 2-0 cushion. Senior Brandon Oeltjenbruns did some nice work in the corner before getting the ball to Fowkes.
“I was just trying to get in a place where I could help him (Oeltjenbruns) out,” Fowkes said. “Once he got it to me I was able to get past a defender and finish it.”
A-West would like to finish it season in better fashion then the previous three years where the Wildcats have been bounced from the playoffs in the first round.
“Get out of the first round and see how it goes from there,” Fowkes said of A-West’s focus.
The Wildcats will have time to heal up before postseason play begins Oct. 23. Gette hopes to get senior and starting center back Drew Bender back for the playoffs. Bender has been out with a shoulder injury.
Lakewood wraps up its regular season with a non-league road game 7 p.m. Wednesday at Fountain-Fort Carson. It will be the last chance for the Tigers to make their case to the seeding committee. Pairing for the 32-team state tournament will be posted on CHSAANow.com on Sunday.