After years of hitting the road to open the state soccer playoffs, the Wolverines happily will be staying at home this year.
Now, it’s up to the Bayfield High School girls soccer team to take advantage of that opportunity, according to head coach Jen Zelinski.
“I think it’ll be a good game. I’m hoping for a good game. We know they (Buena Vista Demons) have a good team,” Zelinski said.
“But this will be the first time in school history to host a playoff game,” Zelinski said of the BHS girls soccer program. “I think that will be a huge impact (playing at Wolverine Country Stadium).”
Bayfield (14-0-1) is seeded ninth in the 32-team field for the CHSAA Class 3A Girls Soccer State Championships.
As a 9-seed, the Wolverines will host No. 24 Buena Vista (8-3-0) at 4 p.m. today in Bayfield.
The Wolverines, who won the Intermountain League with a perfect conference record, had sought a home playoff game after three consecutive years on the road to open the 3A playoffs. The IML sweep and key nonconference wins with only a single tie on their record gave the Wolverines today’s opportunity at home.
“They’re good. They (Demons) beat Salida,” Zelinski said of the only common opponent shared by the two playoff teams.
Buena Vista beat Salida twice – 3-2 and 8-1; Bayfield beat Salida once – 6-0.
“If we can come out and play like we know how to play, I think we can beat them,” Zelinski said.
BHS will have to focus on the match amid a week of finals, term papers and graduation distractions.
“We’ve got to work on what we can control,” she said, counting on a prolific offense that generated 81 goals this season.
Senior Keenan Moreta, who’s signed to play at Otero Junior College next year, scored 25 goals to lead the Wolverines this year. She ranks sixth in Class 3A goals scored this season.
Teammate Sanna Penton, a foreign-exchange senior from Sweden, has 17 goals and 15 assists.
Effie Nistler scored nine and assisted on eight goals for the unbeaten Wolverines.
A stingy BHS defense, anchored by senior goalkeeper Jaylie Ross, has allowed only six goals all season.
By contrast, Buena Vista allowed 12 goals this year.
The Demons scored 35 goals, led by 14 from junior Kinsey Cichowitz. She also assisted on six goals for Buena Vista this year.
Freshman Winter Bardol scored four times for the Demons.
Buena Vista’s only losses this season came to Class 4A Summit (1-0), Manitou Springs (4-0) and The Classical Academy (3-1). The Classical Academy (10-2-4) is the No. 6 seed in the 3A bracket.
The winner of the Bayfield-Buena Vista match will match up with the winner of No. 25 Basalt (7-6-2) at No. 8 Colorado Academy (9-4-2) in the second round Saturday. The top seed will host the next round.
Telluride, the only team on the Wolverines’ schedule that BHS did not beat, was seeded 20th with its 11-2-2 overall record.
The Miners, who tied the Wolverines earlier this season, will play at No. 13 Coal Ridge (11-2-3) in Silt/New Castle.