A furious final minute nearly gave Metea Valley its first win in school history against Waubonsie Valley.
Instead, the Mustangs settled for a 1-1 draw during Saturday afternoon's Upstate Eight Valley match in Aurora.
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With time winding down and less than a minute remaining, Metea Valley freshman Nicki Hernandez's corner kick found Madie Sandberg, who amidst a crowd somehow got the ball to Jenna Kentgen. The senior's header was just a little too high though, clanking off the crossbar and ultimately into the hands of Waubonsie Valley goalkeeper Emma Rigby.
It proved to be the final threat for either team as the squads tied for the first time in their young rivalry. It was just the fifth time the two teams played each other since Metea Valley fielded its first varsity team in 2011. Waubonsie Valley had won the previous four meetings, including twice last year, one an unforgettable 1-0 victory in the Class 3A Metea Valley regional championship.
"It's great," Mustangs freshman Jade Eriksen-Russo. "They're our big rivals and I know a lot of the girls on the team too, so it feels great to not let them beat us."
Eriksen-Russo netted the equalizer less than four minutes into the second half. She was able to get behind the Waubonsie defense and catch up to a pass from Kentgen, which she sent past Rigby from about 10-yards out.
It was Metea Valley's first goal against Waubsonie Valley since Kristina Tomaras scored in a 3-1 loss in 2011. It was also the first goal for Eriksen-Russo.
"I'm pretty sure it started with a steal from the defense," Eriksen-Russo said. "Jenna got a good cross over the field because all the momentum was going one way and then with the cross it was just one touch in."
Hernandez and Eriksen-Russo have quickly become one of the best freshmen tandems in the state.
"I'm just happy that I have the opportunity to be here playing with these girls," Eriksen-Russo said. "They are just amazing and have amazing personalities."
Waubonsie Valley (2-1-2, 0-0-1) scored its goal in the 14th minute on a 20-yarder from senior Mackenzie Fuller, her first of the season.
"They're obviously one of our rivals, so is Neuqua (Valley), so we knew they were going to come out strong and wanted to beat us," Fuller said. "At the beginning we didn't match the intensity, but by the end we were able to match the intensity. It was a good game."
Metea Valley (2-1-1, 1-0-1) gets another rival on Tuesday when it entertains Neuqua Valley.