LAKEWOOD — Wheat Ridge senior Macie Browne said she was nervous for the Farmers’ Class 4A girls soccer state tournament opener Wednesday, but it really didn’t show.
Wheat Ridge’s leading scorer put a pair goals into the back of the net at Lakewood Memorial Field to help propel the 10th-seeded Farmers to a 3-1 victory over No. 23 Mead.
“I was really nervous,” Browne said. “Playoffs always get to you, but we were really excited to come out and play.”
Wheat Ridge senior Kyra Midory put the Farmers up 1-0 with a late goal in the first half, but it was Browne’s goals in the 42nd and 51st minutes of the second half that put the Farmers (11-5 record) in perfect position to move onto the second round.
Browne found herself on a breakaway one-on-one with Mead sophomore goalie Breanna Encinas in the opening minutes of the second half.
“I saw the through ball and just knew I had to do it,” Browne said of her breakaway goal. “I was trying to stay calm. With those you just have to place them.”
Browne did just that to make it a 2-0 game. She had a nifty move around a defender less than 10 minutes later and fired in her second goal.
“Macie is dangerous. That is no secret,” Wheat Ridge coach Dan Watkins said of Browne who has 15 goals and 15 assists on the season. “For her to put the ball in the back of the net really settled us in and got a little more composed.”
Mead (10-6) did make things interesting in the final 20 minutes. Sophomore Maddie Muntz scored in the 59th minute to cut the lead to 3-1. It appeared the Mavericks cut it to a one-goal game in the 69th minute, but the in-direct free kick by freshman Cora Thorndike that went into the back of the net didn’t hit anything so the goal was called off.
“We limited Mead’s (scoring) opportunities, but they work extremely hard and put pressure on you,” Watkins admitted. “It took us awhile to settle in and start knocking it around. Credit to Mead. They came out with a ton of energy.”
Evergreen gets a familiar face in Jeffco rival and No. 7 Evergreen (11-5) in the second round. The Cougars easily handled Erie 5-1 in their playoff opener Wednesday.
Wheat Ridge suffered a 2-1 loss to Evergreen during conference play April 12.
“For some reason we just seem to have this Jeffco party,” Watkins said of the 4A state tournament where the Farmers have knocked out of the playoffs by conference rivals Evergreen and Valor Christian the past two years. “Peter (Evergreen coach Peter Jeans) does a great job with them. They have very talented players. We didn’t get them the first time. We would love to go out there and give us a chance to get them the second time.”
The second-round game will be played Saturday, May 12. The time and location hasn’t been announced.
“I’m excited to play with my team again,” Browne said of the Farmers moving on. “Hopefully our run doesn’t end. I don’t want to stop playing with all my friends.”