ARVADA — Columbine sophomore Tessa Barton went from walking boot to booting in the game-winning goal Wednesday night at the North Area Athletic Complex.
The dangerous forward for the Rebels’ girls soccer team, No. 7 in this week’s CHSAANow.com 5A girls soccer rankings, hadn’t played since before spring break because of an injury. Barton made an instant impact in her first game back with a goal in the 68th minute to break a scoreless tie against Class 5A Jeffco League rival Ralston Valley.
“To get back with my teammates and score that goal felt great,” Barton said after a 2-0 victory gave the Rebels a 1-game lead in the 5A Jeffco standings.
Seniors Amanda Porter and Katy Greenstreet were key in setting up Barton’s goal. Porter was able to get off a centering pass near the sideline, but the strong wind carried the ball nearly out of bounds on the opposite side of the field. Greenstreet was able to save the ball and send it into the top of the goal box.
Barton and junior Skylar Alward were there for the Rebels. Barton’s first shot was blocked out front, but her second attempt got past Ralston Valley goalie Mikeila Routsala.
“We all know she (Barton) can score goals. She finished a nice goal,” Columbine coach Brian Todd said. “We need to score goals. We’ve been pretty inconstant in the regard. Today some of our goal scorers scored goals and we are happy with that.”
Todd was happy and relieved when Porter rocketed a shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar and just landed across the goal line three minutes after Barton’s goal to give Columbine a 2-0 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining.
“When it went in it put us over the top and gave us a little buffer,” Porter said.
It was the fourth straight conference shutout victory for Columbine (8-3, 5-0 in 5A Jeffco). The 3-3 start to the season seems like a distant memory for the Rebels, who are two league victories away from the fourth straight 5A Jeffco title.
“It’s always a battle with Columbine,” Ralston Valley coach Kamee Morwood said after the Mustangs had their 4-game winning streak snapped. “What I take away from it is our girls didn’t quit. We are a family and I was proud of every one of them.”
Columbine has a break from conference play this weekend. The Rebels head to Colorado Springs to face Liberty at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22, D-20 Stadium. Columbine gets back into league play against Pomona with a 5 p.m. game Tuesday, April 25, at NAAC.
“Two huge (league) games left,” Todd said. “The Chatfield game is our down south rival for us. I’m sure it will be a dogfight as it always is.”
The final hurdle for the Rebels to clinch another 5A Jeffco League title will be against rival Chatfield on April 28 at Lakewood Memorial Field. The Chargers have given the Rebels troubles recently during Columbine’s league title runs. In fact, Chatfield has a 3-1-1 record against Columbine over the previous three years.
The rivals battled to a scoreless tie last year to give the Rebels their lone conference blemish.
Ralston Valley (7-3, 4-1) faces its rival in Arvada West at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at NAAC. The Mustangs hope to take care of A-West to keep the inside track of finishing in the top-2 of the 5A Jeffco League. The conference’s top two finishers earn automatic spots in the 32-team state tournament.
“Arvada West is always a good rival because our girls play club together and they are our cross-town rival,” Morwood said. “We absolutely want to beat Arvada West.”