DENVER — In last season's Class 2A girls soccer title game, the Vail Mountain defeated the Dawson School Mustangs 2-1 to claim Colorado's first 2A state championship.
The Mustangs exacted some measure of revenge when they defeated Vail Mountain in the regular season finale. But it's the postseason when the losses hurt the most.
With their result on Wednesday night, the Mustangs have their shot at true redemption. At All-City Stadium in Denver, the Mustangs defeated Evangelical Christian School, 2-1 in the state semifinals, to set up a title-game rematch with Vail Mountain.
"Tonight's game was a tight one," senior captain Lindsey Gallop said. "I think we came together and we came out really strong. I think we're going to be ready for Vail. We're hungry, we're ready and we want to beat them really bad. Last year's game didn't sit right with us, it was a last-second shot through our keeper's hands and We think this game's going to be different."
While the reigning state runners-up started slow in their quarterfinal win over Resurrection Christian, it didn't take the No. 1-seeded Mustangs (13-2-1) long to break the ice on Wednesday.
Senior forward Izzy Rosko put the Mustangs on the board in the 10th minute. It may not have been the cleanest goal of her prep career, but the senior broke free from the defense and created a one-on-one with the Eagles goalkeeper and was able to come out on top of the scramble to muscle the ball into the net.
The Mustangs held the fifth-seeded Eagles (9-8-1) without a shot on goal in the first half and led comfortably, 1-0 at the break.
In the 63rd minute, Rosko found Epstein on a long through ball to the right side and Esptein put the ball away to give the Mustangs a 2-0 lead.
"Man, their keeper is good," Mustangs head coach John Siegrist said. "There was stuff that normally in any other game would've gone in. But she had tips, she had dives and I think the more we kept shooting, the more she got in a group."
Eagles goalkeeper Maggie Kirkpatrick had nine saves and junior April Mann kept the game close with a goal in the 74th minute. But The Mustangs were able to prevent any further damage in the final six minutes.
Prior to Mann's 74th-minute score, the Mustangs had allowed just one goal in the postseason. That goal came in the quarterfinals with just 33 second remaining in the game.
The Mustangs will face Vail Mountain for the second straight year in the Class 2A state title game on Tuesday.
Dawson School 2, Evangelical Christian 1
At All-City StadiumEvangelical Christian (9-8-1) 0 1 — 1 Dawson School (13-2-1) 1 1 — 2
Goals (assists) — Evangelical Christian: April Mann, 74th minute; Dawson: Izzy Rosko, 10th minute; Cameron Epstein (Rosko), 63rd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Evangelical Christian: Maggie Kirkpatrick (80-2-9); Dawson: Kate Gallop (80-1-0).