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BHS claims EMAC soccer crown

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By Steve Smith

COMMERCE CITY – Brighton High School finished up its pursuit of an Eastern Metro Athletic Conference soccer title with a 4-0 home-field win against Vista Peak April 30.

Tori Rydzeski scored two of Brighton’s goals. Paige Vogel and Kali Villalobos scored the others. 

BHS and Prairie View get the two autmoatic conference bids to next week’s class 5A tournament. Pairings are due out Sunday, May 6 (visit twitter/comsportsland and www.thebrightonblade.com for updates), and the first-round matches are Tuesday, May 8. 

BHS blanked Adams City 3-0 on the Eagles' pitch April 28. Vogel, Villalobos and Tori Rydzeski scored for BHS. Rydzeski's shot bounced off an Adams City defender and into the goal early in the second half. Goalkeeper Mackenzie Byrnes recorded the shutout. She had three saves.

"They were playing a high line early, so balls to the back were pretty successful," BHS coach Mike Day said. "That's what Adams City was giving us, so we decided to take it. I'd much rather play a possession style where we knock it around. They took away a lot of the possessions. And they were so high in the back line, the space was available behind them."

Vogel's goal came in the 19th minute of play.  Villalobos scored in the 31st minute. Rydzeski got her ricochet tally in the 44th minute.

"It was a hard-earned goal," Vogel said of her score. "The team came well together, and we were able to get that goal. It's a reaction. It's look for the through ball and get it done."

BHS is playing a much more aggressive style of soccer this season. Vogel likes it but with a caveat.

"It can be a little dangerous at times. When teams start getting frustrated, they'll start hitting us back in not the right way," Vogel said. "It's give and take. It's hard."

The win puts the Bulldogs magic number at one. A Brighton win in the next two games or a Prairie View loss gives BHS the regular-season title.

The EMAC gets two automatic bids to the state tournament. Those figure to go to Brighton and Prairie View. Both teams defeated Adams City, the third-place team in the conference, this season. The Eagles are 27th in the latest CHSAA RPI poll, so they should qualify for state as well.

The state draw is due out Sunday, May 6. First-round games at the higher seeds are Tuesday, May 8.

"We'll have to see how we do," Vogel said. "It's a confidence builder."

BHS moved up to 16th in the RPi with the win. If that holds, BHS could host a first-round playoff game May 8. Adams City dropped to 30th in the poll as of May 2.

"Any time you are technically and tactically the better team, the other team tries to play more physical than you," Day said. "A lot of times, I've seen my girls get silly yellow cards because they lose their cool. I haven't seen that all season. In a game like this where it's difficult, I was very proud we didn't get any stupid yellow cards."