Mixed emotions in boys soccer tie between Green Mountain and Wheat Ridge

LAKEWOOD — There was a sense of frustration and accomplishment both resonated at Lakewood Memorial Field on Thursday night.

Green Mountain and Wheat Ridge ended in a 1-1 tie after 100 minutes of play in the Class 4A Jeffco boys soccer match.

Wheat Ridge seniors Jack Francis (5) and Derek Diegel (7) celebrates a Farmer goal in the 10th minute Thursday against Green Mountain. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

While Green Mountain (5-4-1, 0-1-1 in 4A Jeffco) — ranked in the top-10 of the CHSAANow.com 4A boys soccer rankings just a few weeks ago after a 4-1 start — was clearly frustrated with the tie.

“We’ve had 70 chances to score in the last four games,” Green Mountain coach Ken Fehr said. “It’s just frustrating.”

Since the good start, the Rams have gone 1-3-1 in their last five games. It seemed like Green Mountain’s offense got back on track when senior Connor Haussler scored in the 20th minute against Wheat Ridge to tie the game at 1-1. However, it would be the last goal in the conference game that featured no scoring in the final 80 minutes, including 20 minutes of overtime.

“We’ve got to learn how to finish,” Fehr said. “We are getting opportunities, we just aren’t finishing. It’s frustrating for everyone.”

Haussler, Blake McKibbon and Greyson Gines all had scoring chances for the Rams in the overtime periods, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Wheat Ridge junior Jace Sandler can't keep his feet as Green Mountain sophomore Benjamin Krajewski (12) control the ball Thursday at Lakewood Memorial Field. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Green Mountain does have some practice time ahead to work on finishing. The Rams are back on Lakewood Memorial on Wednesday, Oct. 2, to face No. 3 Golden. The Demons shutout D’Evelyn 6-0 in the game that followed the double-overtime tie.

“That’s going to be a huge game,” Fehr said of the showdown against defending 4A Jeffco champs Golden next week. “But every game has been huge for us this year and we haven’t preformed to where we should yet.”

Wheat Ridge (3-5-1, 0-0-1) had a sense of accomplishment in its conference opening tie. The Farmers went winless last season, but has already had the program going in the right direction under D’Evelyn graduate and first-year coach Nate Flack.

“We are really stoked about where it is at,” Flack said. “When I came in and saw the skill, talent and heart of these boys I was kind of shocked that they didn’t win a game last year.”

The Farmers grabbed a 1-0 lead on Green Mountain with a picture-perfect counterattack after a free kick from the Rams. Senior Jack Francis eventual put in a shot past Green Mountain sophomore goalie Travis Dove in the 10th minute.

Green Mountain's Austin Brown, far left, and Blake Schell, far right, try to maintain control as Wheat Ridge's Jace Sandler and Vinnie Pomponio attempt to steal the ball. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“After last year everyone is underestimating us,” Wheat Ridge senior Jack Francis said referring to the Farmers’ 0-15 record last year. “This is definitely an improvement, but we want to get the wins every time we come out.”

Dove and Wheat Ridge junior goalie Ian Abo were solid in net after the first two goals in the opening half.

“The first 10 minute or so I was really excited and thinking we could pull out three points (a win),” Flack said. “Green Mountain has a ton of goal scorers. Greyson (Gines) is a stud. We knew that was coming at us. Ian Abo had an amazing game.”

Wheat Ridge has a break from conference play. The Farmers head west to face Steamboat Springs on Saturday, Sept. 28.

“The break from league will help us,” Francis said. “We can work on some new things. The game we are really looking forward to is Evergreen next week.”

The Farmers have another chance to prove they are dangerous team in 4A Jeffco League this season. Wheat Ridge faces Evergreen on Oct. 3 at Lakewood Memorial.

“We really wanted to make a statement to ourselves that we know how we can play and how hard we work,” Flack said. “If we can do that it’s a win for us. It’s been really awesome. We definitely have the group to have some success.”

Wheat Ridge junior Jace Sandler runs after the ball during the Farmers' first goal Thursday at Lakewood Memorial Field. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)