No. 2 Wheat Ridge girls soccer nets a pair of hat-tricks in win

LAKEWOOD — It was a nice blend of senior experience and young talent that led Wheat Ridge’s girls soccer in the goal scoring department Monday night.

Senior Molly Kratzer and freshman Emily Browne both scored a hat-trick (three goals) against Skyview in the first game back from spring break for the undefeated Farmers (6-0 record).

Wheat Ridge midfielders Anna Mallec (11) and Olivia Spetnagel (12) work the ball upfield during the Farmers' 10-2 victory Monday against Skyview. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“It’s a nice mix,” Wheat Ridge coach Dan Watkins said of hat-tricks by a senior and freshman. “We are trying to work on some things to free her (Kratzer) and she is doing a nice job of being able to put the balls away. Emily had some great finishes tonight. I’m really excited for her as a freshman. She is going to be good for us.”

Wheat Ridge — No. 2 in the newest Class 4A girls soccer rankings that were released Monday morning — cruised to a 10-2 victory over Skyview (2-4 record) at Lakewood Memorial Field.

Kratzer actually had a penalty kick saved by Skyview goalie Jackie Galvan in the 2nd minute, but the Regis University commit scored back-to-back goals in the opening 10 minutes to give the Farmers a 2-0 lead.

“We want to be as good as we can be,” Kratzer said. “We want to win as much as we can. I think all of these girls know how to work for each other. We lay it out on the line every single game.”

Browne, who is coming back after an early-season ankle injury, finished off the first half with back-to-back goals herself. Wheat Ridge took a 4-1 lead at halftime.

“It was amazing,” Browne said of her first career high school hat-trick. “Girls were working for me and creating the plays for me.”

Browne scored her third goal in the 50th minute. Kratzer netted her 14th goal of the season to finish off her hat-trick in the 67th minute. Junior Anna Mallec, sophomore Samantha Jackson and senior goalie Logan Duford all added second-half goals.

Wheat Ridge senior Molly Kratzer (9) is one of the top scorers in Class 4A with 14 goals through six games. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Duford finished off the scoring coming out of her net to take a penalty kick that the Farmers were awarded in the 78th minute.

Skyview senior Yadira Ramos Gurrola netted both of the Wolverines' goals on penalty kicks in the 18th and 63rd minutes.

“We’ve got a lot of new players this year so I think it’s been a nice balance,” Watkins said of the schedule heading into the tough 4A Jeffco League. “We’ve been tested. I’m obviously very pleased with the start we’ve had.”

Wheat Ridge heads to Greeley tomorrow (Tuesday, April 2) to face Northridge before heading into conference play next week. The Farmers start 4A Jeffco League play against old nemesis Evergreen.

Evergreen and Wheat Ridge square off at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada.

“They have knocked us out,” Watkins said of the league opener against Evergreen. “A very talented team. Peter (Evergreen coach Peter Jeans) is a fantastic coach and they are always well organized. We’ll have our hands full.”

The Cougars have ended the Farmers’ season the last two years. Evergreen defeated Wheat Ridge in the second round of the 4A state tournament last year and in the state quarterfinals in 2017.

Wheat Ridge sophomore Whitney Clark (16) battles with Skyview senior Virginia Navarro during the first half Monday at Lakewood Memorial Field. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Watkins added that the Farmers will be up for the challenge with a tough conference start with Evergreen, followed up by D’Evelyn.

“We know we have a hard league,” Browne said. “We are just building up. If we keep playing hard and improving, we’ll have a chance.”

It was a special night for Watkins. The team honored Watkins at halftime for coaching his 300th girls varsity game at Wheat Ridge.

“You get into it, you love the game and you like working with kids,” Watkins said after notching his 218th career victory coaching Wheat Ridge’s girls soccer program since 2003. “It’s a great program, a great community and so fun to be apart of.”

Watkins has been named Coach of the Year not only in Jeffco, but regionally and nationally during his nearly two decade coaching career. He guided the Farmers’ to back-to-back 4A girls soccer state titles in 2009 and 2010.

“It was super meaningful,” Kratzer said of being apart of Watkins coaching his 300th game. “It was such a big deal because he’s been such a big part of the program and done so much for us. He is the best coach I’ve ever played for.”

Wheat Ridge senior Molly Kratzer (9) beats Skyview senior Alyssa Maldonado to the ball on her way to a goal Monday at Lakewood Memorial Field. The Farmers took a 10-2 victory with Kratzer and Emily Browne both scoring hat-tricks for Wheat Ridge. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)