May 6, 2012 Updated: July 3, 2013 at 9:36 am
Faced with the proposition of carrying the title of top seed in the upcoming 4A girls’ soccer playoffs, Cheyenne Mountain coach Tomas Martinez harbored mixed emotions from the prestige, and hazard, that such an honor bestows.
“We’ve been No. 1 several times,” Martinez said. “And we’ve made early exits in some of those years. Whoever has it has a huge target.”
Ultimately, the selection committee voted the 15-0 Indians the unanimous choice to hold that bulls eye when they open the postseason Tuesday against No. 32 Denver South (7-7-1) at home, the first of three potential matches on home turf.
On Sunday, the committee selected the playoff teams and matchups in 5A, 4A and 3A. Cheyenne Mountain, which won girls’ titles in 2005 and 2007 – as a No. 4 and No. 2 seed, respectively – highlighted 15 Pikes Peak area squads that earned postseason berths.
Seven alone emerged from the uber-competitive Colorado Springs Metro League. Besides Cheyenne Mountain, Palmer Ridge (3), Air Academy (5), Lewis-Palmer (8), Coronado (17), Sand Creek (23) and Falcon (31) also punched playoff tickets.
“I was more surprised that our league got so much respect,” Martinez said. “There are so many great teams in 4A. We’ve had the bulls eye the whole season, and we’ve responded thus far. The big thing is all we have to do is win five games.”
Also, Canon City (25) was selected to the 4A tournament and will go head-to-head against Lewis-Palmer, a No. 1 seed itself two years ago.
The prospect of up to three home matches seemed to be the bigger prize than the number that went next to a team’s name.
“You can’t beat that opportunity,” said Palmer Ridge coach Nick Odil, whose 14-1 Bears hadn’t lost a match until falling 2-0 to Cheyenne Mountain last Thursday in the Metro League title game. “I’m excited about getting such a great seed, and I feel really good about how we’re playing.”
Pine Creek (10-3-2), winners of the Metro League title the last three seasons, qualified for the postseason for the sixth straight season as a 5A school. The Eagles play host to Boulder (6-4-5) on Wednesday. The 5A Metro League also will be represented by No. 16 Rampart (9-3-3) and No. 23 Doherty (8-5-2), both reaching the postseason for the first time since 2009.
A handful of area 3A teams made their 32-team field, highlighted by No. 4 St. Mary’s, which was bounced in the quarterfinals last year after four consecutive berths in the championship game, including titles in 2009-10.
“Last year was a reloading year, and this year we’re still very young with 20 of our 26 players either freshmen or sophomores,” 10th-year coach Gregg Braha said. “I think this team has a renewed energy and is focused on making a deeper run this year.”
Defending champ The Classical Academy (10-2-3) earned a No. 6 ranking and faces the possibility of a quarterfinal matchup against No. 3 Peak to Peak (12-3) in a state-championship rematch.
Manitou Springs (12), Fountain Valley (23) and Evangelical Christian Academy (26) also were chosen for the 3A bracket.