2013 CHSAA 5A Girls Soccer State Championship

What is it with high school championship soccer games in Colorado?  Last fall I was tasked to shoot the 3A, 4A, and 5A boys games, but due to a blizzard I only got to shoot the 3A and 4A.  The previous night I shot the double overtime 3A State Title Game for girls soccer, and earlier this day I shot the 4A game.  As the 5A game between Rock Canyon and Mountain Vista got ready to start, so did the rain.  And then, within the first 5 minutes, the officials were clearing the field and the announcer at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park was telling the fans to vacate the stands and head up to the concourse level.  Multiple lighting strikes were hitting in the area which resulted in a 40 minute lighting delay.  But finally, my last High School Girls Soccer game for the 2012/13 school year started back up.

May 22, 2013 - Rock Canyon Jaguars junior Emily Postma (18) keeps the ball in bounds and away from Mountain Vista Golden Eagle freshman Mallory Pugh (9) in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

May 22, 2013 – Rock Canyon Jaguars junior Emily Postma (18) keeps the ball in bounds and away from Mountain Vista Golden Eagle freshman Mallory Pugh (9) in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

The day before an official for CHSAA was telling me about one of the Mountain Vista players, Mallory Pugh, who, at 14 years old, plays for the US Women’s National U-17 team.  Ok.  I was kinda excited by this because I had shot Kelly Cobb play high school soccer while she was playing for the National Team.   Cobb made the players on the field with her look like David Beckham playing with 8 year olds.  But, while I could tell that Pugh was a very good player, two things were apparent to me.  One, the talent pool for Colorado soccer players is much larger and the players here are much better.  So Pugh did not dominate like I was expecting.  The second thing that I saw, Pugh seemed to expect things to go her way on every call.  All players do this, but instead of expecting to have a call for bump and nudge on her, just playing through would have been better for her team.

May 22, 2013 - Mountain Vista Golden Eagle freshman Mallory Pugh (9) is tripped up by Rock Canyon Jaguars senior Makayla McBride (8) in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

May 22, 2013 – Mountain Vista Golden Eagle freshman Mallory Pugh (9) is tripped up by Rock Canyon Jaguars senior Makayla McBride (8) in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

In the first few minutes of the game, prior to the weather delay, Rock Canyon looked good.  The Jaguars were playing a good game, and may even have had the advantage.  But after the delay, it was all they could do to stop the Golden Eagles of Mountain Vista from just taking over completely.

May 22, 2013 - Rock Canyon Jaguars senior Makayla McBride (8) and Mountain Vista Golden Eagle sophomore Amy Alexander (5) chase after the ball in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

May 22, 2013 – Rock Canyon Jaguars senior Makayla McBride (8) and Mountain Vista Golden Eagle sophomore Amy Alexander (5) chase after the ball in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

Rock Canyon did themselves proud though.  In the first half they held what most people in Colorado believe to be the best high school team in the state scoreless.  Not only did the Jaguars defense handle Pugh well, they kept quite a few of the Golden Eagle shots away from the goal, and the few that got by, the Rock Canyon goalkeeper stopped them.

May 22, 2013 - Mountain Vista Golden Eagle freshman Mallory Pugh (9) brings the ball down the pitch against the defense by Rock Canyon Jaguars sophomore Allie Riggs (4) in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

May 22, 2013 – Mountain Vista Golden Eagle freshman Mallory Pugh (9) brings the ball down the pitch against the defense by Rock Canyon Jaguars sophomore Allie Riggs (4) in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

But as good as the Rock Canyon defense was, Mountain Vista’s was better.  The Jaguars were not going to find the back of the net, and if they did get a shot off, suddenly here came the Golden Eagles with the ball.  We went into halftime tied 0-0.

May 22, 2013 - Mountain Vista Golden Eagle freshman Mallory Pugh (9) breaks away from Rock Canyon Jaguars sophomore Allie Riggs (4) in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

May 22, 2013 – Mountain Vista Golden Eagle freshman Mallory Pugh (9) breaks away from Rock Canyon Jaguars sophomore Allie Riggs (4) in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

In the above two shots, you see Pugh breaking from the defense.  What you do not see is 3 other Mountain Vista players open.  When Pugh got the ball, defense collapsed on her to attempt to stop her.  But it seemed to me, she was not once looking to pass the ball and only passed when she was about to turn the ball over, or dribbling the ball a little two hard.  I will be the first one to admit, I had not seen her play before, but it was almost like she was trying to carry the team, which was not needed.  With her playing for the National Team, he did not play with the Golden Eagles all season long and when she was not with her high school team they only lost one game.  So, they can play…  Pugh has the talent, but is young.  Hopefully over the next three years she will use her talent to make her teammates even better, and that could lead to this team being one of the top teams in the nation.

May 22, 2013 - Rock Canyon Jaguars senior Erin Webb (16) attempts to get the ball past Mountain Vista Golden Eagle senior Emily Jones (16) in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

May 22, 2013 – Rock Canyon Jaguars senior Erin Webb (16) attempts to get the ball past Mountain Vista Golden Eagle senior Emily Jones (16) in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

Going into the second half, Rock Canyon did a great job keeping Mountain Vista off the scoreboard.  But again, the Golden Eagles kept Rock Canyon off the board too.  It was very impressive by the Jaguars to hold Mountain Vista scoreless for 80 minutes.  And it was going to get better….

May 22, 2013 - Mountain Vista Golden Eagle senior Gabbi Miranda (7) and Rock Canyon Jaguars junior Kaycie Young (11) both elevate to head the ball in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

May 22, 2013 – Mountain Vista Golden Eagle senior Gabbi Miranda (7) and Rock Canyon Jaguars junior Kaycie Young (11) both elevate to head the ball in the Colorado 5A State Championship game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

No.  Rock Canyon was not going to get the upset.  But they took the best team to the full 80 minutes and an overtime period.  They ended up holding Mountain Vista scoreless for over 85 minutes.  But, in that 85th minute the Mountain Vista Golden Eagles captured the 5A State Championship trophy when Sophomore Megan Massey found the back of the net for the Golden Goal.

May 22, 2013 - The Mountain Vista Golden Eagles raise the Colorado 5A State Championship trophy over their heads after defeating the Rock Canyon Jaguars 1-0 in overtime at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

May 22, 2013 – The Mountain Vista Golden Eagles raise the Colorado 5A State Championship trophy over their heads after defeating the Rock Canyon Jaguars 1-0 in overtime at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

The shot above was one I really wanted to get.  The number one hand sign with the trophy…  Check.  Again I stayed back from the posed team shot the official CHSAA photographer was taking, but right as he walked away the team, coaches, trainers, all crammed together.  I wish I would have head my wide angle lens ready so I could have got the whole group, plus the Colorado spelled out in the seats in the background.

May 22, 2013 - The Mountain Vista Golden Eagles pose with the Colorado 5A State Championship trophy after defeating the Rock Canyon Jaguars 1-0 in overtime at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

May 22, 2013 – The Mountain Vista Golden Eagles pose with the Colorado 5A State Championship trophy after defeating the Rock Canyon Jaguars 1-0 in overtime at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO

Congrats to the Mountain Vista Golden Eagles on their 5A State Soccer Championship.  To view and purchase photos from this game, please visit MaxPreps.

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