LAKEWOOD — It didn’t take long for Columbine to find its scoring touch on the soccer pitch this spring season.
The Rebels — No. 7 in the CHSAANow.com Class 5A girls soccer preseason poll — put six goals in during the second half against D’Evelyn — No. 8 in 4A rankings — on Friday at Lakewood Memorial Field.
“We are blessed with a good freshman in Riley (Kaali-Nagy),” Columbine senior Tessa Barton said. “I’ve got some good forwards on the sides of me. They feed me balls and I feed them balls. We’ll work better up top this year.”
Columbine (1-0 record) ended up with a 6-0 victory. In fact, the Rebels scored just six or more goals once last year during its 14-4 campaign that resulted another 5A Jeffco League title.
“I think we have another really good group,” Columbine coach Brian Todd admitted. “I see it on paper and from what I know within the program they’ll be a very seasoned and experience team. Nick Cavarra (assistant coach ) and I are really excited about what we have.”
The Rebels have 11 seniors, led by Barton. The forward ended up scoring a hat-trick with goals in the 43rd, 69th and 74th minutes. The University of Colorado signer has averaged double-digit goals in each of the previous three seasons with Columbine. She got off to a great start with the trio of second-half goals.
“She (Barton) attracts defenders which does free up other people,” Todd said. “Tessa was a part of a lot of those goals, but we started to really play good soccer in that second half.”
In a game that was much closer than the final score indicated. The Rebels and Jaguars were scoreless through the first half.
Barton was fouled inside the goalie box to draw a penalty kick in the 43rd minute. She capitalized on the PK to break the scoreless tie.
It was just the being of the scoring for the Rebels. Columbine put in five goals between the 64th and 74th minutes to open the season with the shutout victory.
“The first half it was just new to us,” Barton said of the scoreless first half. “Bella (Scaturro) is a great defender. I’ve always played against Bella. It took us a little while, but we got motivated.”
Kaali-Nagy, along with seniors Jocelyn Gutierrez and Libby Spangler scored a goal each during a five-minute span.
“After that second goal we just kind of lost it,” D’Evelyn coach Reid Bervik second of the second half.
D’Evelyn (0-1) actually controlled the run of play in the first half. The Jaguars’ best scoring catch came off a shot by senior Lauren Cook that Columbine junior goalie Elizabeth Michael saved.
Michael played the first half in goal. Junior Emily Maddox took over in net for the Rebels in the second half as Michael and Maddox combined for the shutout victory in goal. Columbine had 10 shutout victories last season.
“What we’ve been preaching this year is we have to be consistent over time to reach the goals we want to reach,” Bervik said. “First half we came out we were the more aggressive team moving forward. We had more chances.”
Todd added that he believes D’Evelyn is one of the frontrunners to win the tough 4A Jeffco League that featured four teams — Standley Lake, Evergreen, D’Evelyn and Green Mountain — ranked in the 4A preseason top-10.
Seniors — forward Laryssa Hamblen and defender Bella Scaturro — are back for the Jaguars after not playing as juniors. The two were key to D’Evelyn run to the 4A state title in 2017.
“It’s better to learn this lesson early than late, especially against a good team,” Bervik said. “I have 100 percent in our girls moving forward. We’ll learn from this.”
D’Evelyn returns to action on the road against Thompson Valley on Monday, March 11. Columbine is back at Lakewood Memorial Field against Regis Jesuit on Friday, March 15.