ARVADA — Columbine’s journey toward a sixth straight girls soccer Class 5A Jeffco League title officially started Wednesday night at the North Area Athletic Complex.
The Rebels — ranked No. 6 in the CHSAANow.com 5A girls soccer rankings — have won fifth consecutive conference titles.
“It’s definitely a goal of ours,” Columbine coach Brian Todd said of the incredible string of conference titles. “I’m sure everyone wants to knock us off. It’s motivation in both directions for everybody.”
It did take a little overtime work to get off on the right foot this league season. Senior Tessa Barton kicked home the game-winning goal in the 4th minute of the first overtime period to give Columbine a 2-1 victory over a gritty Arvada West team.
Columbine has a piled up a 32-3-1 league record during the remarkable five-year run. The Rebels’ last conference blemish was a scoreless tie against Chatfield on April 20, 2016. Last league loss was to the rival Chargers on May 1, 2015.
“League openers are always fun and we had a pretty good crowd,” Barton said after the Rebels celebrated their 18th straight conference winning dating back to 2016. “It took a little longer than we wished with going overtime. Arvada West is a pretty good team.”
A-West (3-2, 0-1 in league) held a 1-0 lead at halftime. Senior Makenna Fowler scored late in the first half for the Wildcats on a great shot. However, Columbine (4-2, 1-0) settled in and put heavy offensive pressure on A-West for the remainder of the game.
Junior Peyton Weber put in the game-tying goal in the 50th minute on a long shot that rocketed under the cross bar.
“I knew my team needed it,” Weber said of the equalizer. “My adrenaline was going. I saw my chance and took it. I didn’t really think about it. I knew I just had to strike it.”
Barton scored her team-high eighth goal of the season converting on the penalty kick in the first few minutes of the overtime period.
“I’m proud of our girls. They got it done tonight,” Todd said. “A-West had a good team this year. They are going to have a good year.”
A-West has a weekend trip to the mountains for a non-league game. The Wildcats face Glenwood Springs at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 6. A-West returns to league play against No. 9 and rival Ralston Valley at 7 p.m. Monday, April, 8 at NAAC.
“It’s going to be a fun Jeffco run,” Todd said. “You can’t discount anyone in our league. We just added Valor and there are some other good tests for everybody.”
The Rebels continue conference play Monday, April 8, at Lakewood Memorial Field. Columbine has a 5 p.m. start against rival Dakota Ridge.
“We’ve won it (league title) all three years and my senior year would mean the most to me, especially with this group of girls,” Barton said. “To win a league championship sets us closer to winning a state championship.”