The Academy handed the Dawson School girls soccer team their first loss of the season with a 5-0 lightning-shortened victory Wednesday evening at Broomfield Commons.
The Mustangs, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, started the season 12-0 and had outscored their opponents 75-5, but the Wildcats, ranked No. 4 in Class 3A, proved too much to handle.
"It definitely is not the best feeling to lose, but it's good to know that this will help us on our way to winning in the playoffs," said sophomore midfielder Alex Dunbar.
The Academy scored early in the first half to set the tone, as senior Mandy Stricker knocked a free kick from 30 yards out past Dawson goalkeeper Kate Gallop and into the top left corner for a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats scored again later in the half, as freshman Lauren Difraia finished at the near post from a through ball.
The Academy scored three more times in the second half before the game was called due to lightning in the area.
"We were playing against a very talented team. We scheduled this game on purpose towards the end of the season so that we can work on our speed of play and it accomplished that. I would've liked to see us play a little faster off of our feet, but overall it was a good tune-up leading into next week," said Dawson head coach David Criswell, referring to the 2A playoffs.
"This game definitely prepared us defensively to play a lot faster, and offensively it prepared us to take quicker touches, because we're not used to needing to take one touch passes and move off the ball, and in this game we were forced to do that," added Dunbar.
Offensively, the Mustangs were unable to maintain possession and were held to just one shot on goal.
"We knew we were probably going to be playing a lot of defense this game and it's not a situation we've been used to this season. We're used to possessing the ball and working through the middle, and it was tough to do it against a team like this. It gave us some things to work on for the next couple of weeks," Criswell said.
Dawson will host Clear Creek on Thursday and travel to Fort Collins to take on Class 3A No. 7 Liberty Common on Saturday before the 2A playoffs begin next Tuesday.
Having already beaten defending champion Denver Christian this season, the Mustangs will be looking to reach their fourth straight 2A state title game.
"That's been the goal — to get ready for next week with games like this," said Criswell.
Christoph Ludwig: 303-473-1313, email@example.com
The Academy 5, Dawson School 0
At Broomfield CommonsDawson School (12-1) 0 0 — 0
The Academy (13-1) 2 3 — 5
Goals (assists) — The Academy: Ma. Stricker (unassisted), Difraia (Ma. Stricker), Daily (Difraia), Hanger (Daily), Hanger (unassisted).
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Dawson School: Gallop 64-5-6; The Academy: Honomichi 64-0-1.