For the fifth consecutive year, the Class 3A girls soccer playoffs will include the Bayfield Wolverines.
The Region 5 champion Bayfield High School girls soccer team earned a No. 12 seed and will travel to Colorado Springs to take on No. 21 Lutheran on Saturday.
The top eight seeds in Class 3A host four-team pods, so BHS will travel to the home field of No. 5 St. Marys to play Lutheran, then possibly the winner of St. Marys and No. 28 Buena Vista.
BHS head coach Jen Zelinski said Bayfield was hoping to get the chance to stay home.
I feel like the first place team in each league should get to host regardless. ... Regardless, were going to get better by playing better teams, Zelinski said.
The Wolverines went 12-2-1 in 2013 and havent lost a game since March 19 at Alamosa. Bayfield finished the regular season on a 10-0-1 streak, the only slight blemish coming in a 2-2 draw with Telluride.
The biggest hurdle staring down the Wolverines is the loss of leading scorer Effie Nistler, who was lost to a knee injury in the season finale against Pagosa Springs. Bayfield will have to find offense from other sources to replace the loss of Nistlers 19 goals and six assists. Also, second-leading scorer Maddy Duran missed Fridays game with an ankle injury, adding to the injury woes for BHS.
Lindsey Reinmuth potted seven goals this season for Bayfield, and Meaghan Mooney chipped in six, and itll likely be a big group effort to overcome the loss of two quality offensive players.
Just because theyre not the leading goal scorer doesnt mean that they cant be, Zelinski said. I think it just gives other girls the opportunity to step up.
Defense will be important, as well. Bayfield has allowed just 10 goals this season, and the goalkeeping tandem of Charlene Hammit and Andrea Lahoz has combined for 10 shutouts.
Lutheran, located in Parker, finished seventh in Region 6 at 4-5-0 but finished the year with a 10-5-0 overall record. The leagues champion, Peak to Peak, is seeded second.
Bayfield surely will keep an eye on senior Shelby Raper. Raper scored a whopping 34 goals, tops in the state in Class 3A, and racked up 14 assists.
But, Zelinski said, Bayfield is worried more about playing its own game instead of focusing all of its attention on one player. And, so far this season, thats worked just fine.
If we play the best that we know we can be, it shouldnt really matter, she said.