LAFAYETTE — In a game in which it might have been the difference, the Peak to Peak Pumas didn't get the penalty kick they thought they deserved in the second half of their girls soccer game Thursday against The Academy.
Nevertheless, both teams proved worthy of their high rankings in Class 3A, and an evenly played match appropriately ended with a draw as neither team could break the goal line in a 0-0 contest at the Peak to Peak field.
The CHSAANow.com media preseason polls had the Wildcats (now 2-0-1) at No. 3 in 3A while Peak to Peak (2-1-1) weighed in at No. 5, and perhaps there will be enough games finally played to have a new set of rankings next week. Undoubtedly, the pair of teams should remain in the top five.
On the pitch Thursday, it was a clash of teams that were energetic and eager. But thanks to the goalie play of The Academy's Emily Bunch (five saves) and the Pumas combo of Rachel Willette and Kinzie Short (15 total saves), the stalemate was preserved.
"Overall, you could see that whoever had the wind had advantage, but we managed to maintain possession on our end in the second half," said Peak to Peak coach Joe Swanson, whose team hadn't played since a 4-0 win over Longmont on March 16. "It was a hard-hitting game, and I think it taught our girls a lot about where we can be.
One thing was clear, and that was the Pumas had the run of play in the second half — though the Wildcats had the better chances in the two overtime periods.
Adjustments were made on the Pumas side to work the ball in space, and it paved the way for more play in the 18 after the break. In the 60th minute, Lindsay Hudson drove in on the goal and two fouls were called, but the first one stood as where the ball would be played — right at penalty kick placement but with Academy defenders able to wall it up.
Not a minute later, Ashley Buck nailed a crossbar on a rope looking near post. Overall, the Pumas had several corner kick opportunities that just didn't connect.
"I didn't know what we were going to get today with the break in action and little practice we've had," Swanson said. "We settled down and started to play our game though. We just need to work on those corners, because we're probably one of 30 attempts so far."
The Academy may have had a favorable total of shots on goal but most came from well outside the box — situations where Short could square herself up to the play.
Willette and Short have split time this year, but Short had to come in a bit early after Willette was injured in just the sixth minute during an Academy run in the box.
Short was tested quickly after the substitute, and she seemed to settle in during the second half.
"She's not afraid to challenge," said fellow freshman Emma Shepherd, who was active with the ball the entire game from the midfield. "We have two good goalies that are dead even it seems, and it's great that they're freshmen, too.
"I really feel like we stood up to the challenge and didn't let them beat us up. We were just as physical as they were."
The Pumas will start to get in more of a rhythm schedule-wise starting Monday against Frontier Academy.
Peak to Peak 0, The Academy 0 (2OT)
At Peak to Peak HSPeak to Peak (2-1-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0
The Academy (2-0-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Peak to Peak: Willette (6-0-2), Short (94-0-13); The Academy: Bunch (100-0-5).