COMMERCE CITY — Though a late start meant dropping temperatures, energy ran high from the first whistle as Grandview and Broomfield battled for the Class 5A girls soccer state championship.
The speed and physicality came from both squads and persisted for the entirety of the match, but Grandview took home the title with a 2-0 win.
"I knew it would be a close game, and I know (Broomfield coach Jim) Davidson. I knew they'd make a run at this," said Grandview coach Tari Wood. "We are young and little, but my girls play bigger than they seem. They want it so badly."
Grandview possessed the ball for the majority of the first 40 minutes, taking long-ranged shots and moving the ball swiftly. There was just something tangibly tenacious about them, and after 25 minutes of play, it payed off with a goal from sophomore defender Jessica Hixson.
A corner placed the ball in the box and Hixson rocketed it into the top center, capitalizing on her powerful right and giving the Wolves the 1-0 lead.
"I have two of the best centerbacks and they happen to work very well together," Wood said of Hixson and Nicole Lyubenko who connected for the goal.
Moments after, Broomfield had a free kick that merely floated over the goal, and in the final minutes of the first half, a cross gave Broomfield forward Makena Bambei a shot at the equalizer but the ball hit the crossbar. Grandview hung on to head into half with the advantage.
Broomfield moved from 4A to 5A this season, and though the Eagles came up short, their debut in the championship showed that they belonged.
They came out of the second half with fire, pressuring the Broomfield defense with much more force than the first half.
"We equalized the game in possession, gained a lot of momentum, and had our chance but it was just unfortunate," said Broomfield coach Jim Davidson. "We took the first half off, that was the difference. Their athleticism disrupted us. We didn't connect anything in the first half but were able to break them down in the second. I'm proud of them."
But Grandview continued to play at their skilled level, the type of play that has kept them undefeated since mid-march, where they faced their only loss of the season.
They led early and it led to their success.
"I've been in 13 state championships and I've never seen a team win from behind," said Davidson. "If you don't play 80 minutes then you make it really hard on yourself. But I told the girls to come back out after the half and make it worthy of a state championship."
With just under a minute left, Grandview junior Mandi Duggan sealed the win for the Eagles with another goal and closed out the soccer state tournament.
Grandview is now 2-0 in state title appearances, having won back in 2008.