Arvada West girls soccer improves to 3-0 after win against Golden

A-West junior Hailey Johns (14) goes up for a header during the Wildcats' 2-1 victory Wednesday against rival Golden. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

ARVADA — Two minutes into each half belonged to Arvada West’s girls soccer team Wednesday at the North Area Athletic Complex.

A-West sophomore Emma Drumright and junior Hailey Johns put in goals in the first two minutes of each half on the way to a 2-1 victory for the Wildcats (3-0 record) over Golden.

“It was identical each half,” Golden coach Luke Vanderglas said. “We had a couple of mental lapses and (A-West) took advantage.”

Drumright scored less than 2 minutes into the non-league game against the Demons (1-2) to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. It was the lone goal in the first half.

It took two tries, on Drumright’s goal in the 2nd minute. Drumright’s first shot from inside the goal box hit the cross bar flush, but the rebound came right back to the sophomore who angled it into the right lower corner.

Arvada West was able to edge Golden 2-1 in the non-league game Wednesday at the NAAC. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“She (Drumright) stuck with it, great skill and she finished it,” A-West coach Troy Gette said.

Johns scored her third goal in three games in the opening minutes of the second half to push the Wildcats’ advantage to 2-0. The junior forward was able to beat Golden freshman goalie Olivia Chevalier on a one-on-one breakaway.

“Honestly, I just kind of went for it. I didn’t want to lose,” Johns said of her eventual game-winning goal. “I was just as nervous as she (goalie) was. I thought about placement, not power.”

Golden got on the scoreboard minutes after Johns’ goal. Sophomore Emily Stec scored in the 44th minute on a nice shot the grazed the underneath of the crossbar before hitting the back of the net to cut A-West’s lead in half.

A-West junior Makenna Fowler had a golden opportunity to extend the Wildcats’ lead back to a two-goal advantage in the 59th minute, but her shot toward to open net sailed wide right.

“We are pretty fast up there,” Gette said of his attacking forwards. “Where we struggled today was just shape and winning 50-50 balls. We are good and Golden will be good too.”

A-West junior Makenna Fowler settles a ball Wednesday at NAAC. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

A-West finished fourth in the Class 5A Jeffco League last year. The Wildcats were bounced out of the postseason in the opening round by ThunderRidge.

The 3-0 start that includes a second-half rally Monday against Poudre at NAAC that netted a 3-2 victory for the A-West has the Wildcats in a good mindset.

“I think we have a good chance of winning the Jeffco League title with the talent we have,” Johns said. “But we have to put the hard work in during practice.”

A-West has some players heading with club teams to a tournament in Nevada before the Wildcats’ next non-league game. A-West hosts Boulder at the NAAC on Wednesday, March 21.

Golden struggled in 2017 with a 5-10 record and didn’t qualify for the playoffs. However, the Demons started the season with an impressive 3-2 victory over Mullen last week. The Mustangs were ranked No. 9 in the Class 4A girls soccer preseason poll.

“These girls all play with and against each other in club too,” Vanderglas said after the rivalry game. “That is why this is fun to have a 2-1 game like this. Unfortunately we came on the wrong end of it.”

Golden heads west for a non-league game against Steamboat Springs on Friday, March 16. The Demons are young this season. Vanderglas started seven freshmen or sophomores against A-West on Wednesday.

“It’s a resilient group not matter the age,” Vanderglas said. “They have been playing high level soccer for a long time. They didn’t quit. They kept fighting the whole time. There is a lot of grit in this team.”

Golden freshman Lily Fell (10) gets her head on the ball in front of A-West junior Makenna Fowler. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)