DENVER — Mountain Vista senior Riley MacDonald’s game-winning goal in the 99th minute struck just before the lightning flashed Wednesday night at CIBER Field on the University of Denver campus.

Top-seeded Mountain Vista (17-0-1 record) grabbed a 1-0 double-overtime victory against No. 5-seeded Ralston Valley (15-3-1). The Golden Eagles — four-time 5A state champions — will go after a fifth title Wednesday, May 22, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park next week.

“We have been working for this all season. We’ve had a good run,” MacDonald said of the Golden Eagles’ undefeated season so far. “We just wanted to win so bad. I think that showcased how many scoring chances we had. We finally finished one.”

Mountain Vista had numerous corner kicks and scrums in front of Ralston Valley senior goalie Margot Mulhern. However, the Golden Eagles couldn’t hit the back of the net until early in the second overtime period.

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

“I crossed a (defender) and placed it in the corner,” MacDonald said. “I just needed to make it.”

MacDonald’s game-winning goal was followed by her teammates storming the field just before lightning to the southwest of the DU delayed the start of the second semifinal game by nearly 90 minutes.

“I felt like the word for this team is relentless,” Mountain Vista coach Theresa Echtermeyer said. “They never give up on the ball, on each other. I’m super proud of them. They found a way.”

Mountain Vista senior Lily Boydstun has a handful of great scoring chances. Mulhern made a handful of diving saves and if it wasn’t the goalie, a defender for the Mustangs were able to clear balls that look destined for the back of the net.

“The defense for Ralston Valley was great,” MacDonald said. “They we a great opponent. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”

Mountain Vista didn’t make it easy on the leading goal scorer in 5A this season. Ralston Valley junior Raleigh Greason — 36 goals on the season — was held in check as the Mustangs were shutout for only the second time this season.

“You need to make sure someone is tight on the pressure and players off the ball are being smart,” Echtermeyer said of how Mountain Vista handled the leading scorer in 5A. “You need to support on defending her.”

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

One of the best scoring chances for the Mustangs was a rocket of a shot from Greason in the first half that just sailed over the cross bar.

“They had more than one person on me,” Greason said of how Mountain Vista defended her. “They know I’m top scorer and I’m going to have a target on my back.”

Despite being a junior, it could have been the final game for Greason in a Mustang jersey. She had already verbally committed to Texas Tech University. If Greason decides to graduate a semester early next winter she would enroll at Texas Tech and forgo her senior soccer season next spring.

“It’s just time and talking with my parents,” Greason said of her process making her decision. “I’m going out there (Texas Tech University) for a camp this summer. We’ll see if I love it. That will maybe make or break it.”

Greason had one of the most impressive seasons in recent Colorado history on the soccer pitch, averaging nearly two goals per game in the highest classification.

“I’d love to come back and play for this program for one more year,” Greason admitted after the Mustangs fell short of advancing to the title game. “But at the same time, it’s my next four years. I’m super excited for those. Either way I’m going to be happy with whatever I do.”

No matter of Greason returns or not next season, Ralston Valley coach Kamee Morwood has a strong core returning next year. Still, the double-overtime loss will sting for a while.

“They wanted to win,” Morwood said of her team. “They put their bodies in front of it. They gave all they had. That is all we can ask of them.”

Echtermeyer will be asking her team to rest up with a significant break of a week before the championship game next week on Wednesday, May 22.

“This has been a tough run for sure for anyone how has made it to this round. It is a lot of games in a short period of time,” Echtermeyer said of the semifinal teams playing four games in nine days during the playoffs. “We’ll get to rest know and see who comes out of this game (Heritage vs Rock Canyon).”

Echtermeyer could capture her seventh state title as a coach. The legendary coach won a pair of state titles at Green Mountain (1997 and 1999) and four at Mountain Vista (2005, 2011, 2013 and 2017).

#3 Rock Canyon 3, #10 Heritage 0

After nearly a 90-minute delay, it still took awhile for the first goal to come in the second semifinal.

Rock Canyon senior Gabby Beaudry’s long drive in the 49th minute found the back of the next to break the ice on the way to the Jaguars’ 3-0 victory over Heritage.

Senior Macey Williams added an insurance goal with a header off a corner for Rock Canyon (14-0-5) in the 53rd minute to extend the lead to 2-0. Senior Jocelyn Lyons put the icing on the cake in the 76th minute on a tough angle shot that hit the back of the net.

Heritage (12-3-3) had the run of play in the scoreless first half, but the Jaguars were able to get it going offensively early in the second half. Rock Canyon junior goalie Brenna Schoenfelder was brilliant in goal with the shutout victory.

The win advances No. 3 Rock Canyon to face off against top-seed Mountain Vista on Wednesday, May 22, at Dick’s Sporting Good Park.

The Jaguars will attempt to get their hands on that elusive state championship. Rock Canyon is a three-time state runner-up (2013, 2021 and 2023). The Jaguars lost in the 5A state championship last year 1-0 against ThunderRidge.