WESTMINSTER — Rivalries are supposed to be a little contentious, right?
The budding one in girls soccer between Jefferson Academy and nearby The Academy over the last few seasons has reached a fever pitch, with both teams trading blows.
The Jaguars landed the biggest of those upper-cuts in the Class 3A state tournament last season, ending the Wildcats post-season run with a 3-0 rout at All City Stadium in the semifinals.
It might have been the motivation for the Wildcats — ranked No. 3 in the preseason poll by CHSAANow.com — who on Saturday won a big non-league match against the Jags 1-0.
"We haven't faced anybody super tough, and it's on their field, it's a little bumpy, which make it harder to control the ball, which is our style," said Jefferson Academy coach Denise Sutton, whose fourth-ranked team drops to 3-2. "I thought we played well and stuck with it to the very end."
It was a physical match from the get-go, and much like their last meeting, the Jags started the game on the front foot. The shots weren't of the greatest quality and never really threatened Wildcats goalie Emily Bunch, but JA controlled possession and had The Academy defense back on its heels.
It was going to take a real good and quick counter-attack to the beat the Jags and it came in the 19th minute.
The Academy sent a high ball towards goalie Kassidy Hastings' far post and the senior came out just a little too far and, despite getting two hands on the ball, she was unable to control it. The Wildcats' Kaylee Stricker was johnny-on-the-spot and finished into an open net.
"They showed up a little more hungry because of that loss they had (in the semifinals)," Sutton said.
Jefferson Academy didn't have a shot on frame in the first half and it wasn't until the final ten minutes when they started to create better in the offensive third.
Freshman standout Mira Houck broke free from a pair of Wildcats defenders and rifled a shot over Bunch's crossbar.
Moments later, on a breakaway opportunity for Michaelah Ingalls, the Jags sophomore put a hard shot right into the stomach of Bunch.
"I don't mind having a loss this early in the season, especially when it is a close game like this," Sutton said. It's okay, we are all right and I'm not too worried about it. We've got some young players, some freshmen, and now they know what it is like to be in the crucible."
The Academy 1, Jefferson Academy 0
At The AcademyJefferson Academy (3-2) 0 0 — 0
The Academy (3-0-1) 1 0 — 1
Goals (assists) — The Academy: Kaylee Stricker (unassisted), 19th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Jefferson Academy: Kassidy Hastings (80-1-3); The Academy: Emily Bunch (80-0-3).