Freshman helps Wheat Ridge girls soccer nets 4A quarterfinal berth

LAKEWOOD — Emily Browne didn’t play like a freshman Saturday afternoon at Lakewood Memorial Field.

The Wheat Ridge freshman scored a pair of goals (15th and 44th minutes) to guide the No. 4-seeded Farmers to a 3-1 victory over No. 13 Holy Family in second-round game of the Class 4A girls soccer state tournament.

Wheat Ridge freshman Emily Browne (3) scored a pair of goals for the Farmers' 3-1 victory over Holy Family on Saturday at Lakewood Memorial Field (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“She (Browne) is a great player, a special player,” Wheat Ridge coach Dan Watkins said. “Players like that want moments. She came through. She has been working hard for us all year long.”

Wheat Ridge moves into the state quarterfinals where it will host No. 21 Cheyenne Mountain next week. Cheyenne Mountain upset No. 5 Air Academy 2-1 in double-overtime Saturday afternoon in Colorado Springs.

Browne’s first goal came off a direct free kick from senior Molly Kratzer in the first 20 minutes of the opening half. Kratzer’s kick sailed over a host of Farmers and Tigers, before finding Browne on the back post.

The ball bounced just in front of Browne and she half-volleyed a shot into the open net.

“I do my best to get to the back post. That’s always my run,” Browne said. “I know there is always a chance it’s going to get over.”

Wheat Ridge senior Molly Kratzer (9) tries to get some space against Holy Family sophomore Lauren Clingman on Saturday afternoon. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Kratzer said it’s the second time this season she has been able to hit Browne on a free kick in similar fashion.

“I just wanted to hit it far post and see if Emily could get it,” Kratzer said. “She has such good touch on the ball with any part of her body. She did all the work. I just kicked it.”

Browne gave the Farmers a 2-0 lead early in the second half on a laser shot past Holy Family junior goalie Sally Napierkowski. Kratzer said she was even more impressed by Browne’s second goal.

“That second goal was amazing,” Kratzer said of Browne’s goal early in the second half. “I was waiting for the goal kick. She kept on work. That is the thing about Emily. She brings the energy and works.”

Kratzer played with Emily’s older sister — Macie Browne — before having the chance to share the field with another Browne.

Wheat Ridge heads into the Class 4A girls soccer state quarterfinal next week against Cheyenne Mountain. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Kratzer put the Farmers ahead 3-0 with a penalty kick with less than 15 minutes to play in regulation-time.

Holy Family (10-6 record) did prevent the shutout. Senior Nicolette Sandoval scored in the 76th minute to make the final score 3-1.

“It was nice to have a little bit more flow to the game today,” Watkins said about playing in much better conditions than the Farmers’ first-round game Tuesday night against Discovery Canyon. “I’d be OK with having good weather going forward however long that lasts.”

The Farmers (14-2-1) would like the season to last until May 22 the date of the state championship game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

“We came in game … do we want to practice more? Do we want to be playing next week? That is what we wanted to do,” Browne said.

Wheat Ridge sophomores Whitney Clark, left, and Emelia Probst (8) converge on Holy Family sophomore Jaelen Giron. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)