LONGMONT– Season openers can often be shaky affairs, especially for a young team. Players generally need a game or two to really get to know one another, understand their roles and gel as a unit.
Not the Mead girls soccer team.
The defending Region 4 champion Mavericks appeared to be in midseason form in their first match of the year as they defeated Greeley Central 3-0. The Mavericks held GCHS to only three shots on goal and spent the majority of the game controlling the ball and attacking the Wildcats’ defense.
“The girls played with a lot of intensity right off the bat,” Mead head coach Mike Schulz said. “They were communicating well. They were playing as a team today.”
Despite dominating possession and putting six shots on goal in the first half, the Mavs found themselves deadlocked in a 0-0 tie at the break.
It wasn’t until 14 minutes into the second that Mead was finally able to find the back of the net. Junior Michelle Goff controlled a corner kick sent in from fellow junior Kasey McKrola and volleyed it over the keeper’s head from 12 yards out. Ten minutes and five shots on goal later, sophomore Morgan Lu received another cross from McKrola and was able to get off a shot despite being surrounded by a crowd of Wildcat defenders.
The 65th-minute score proved to be the nail in the coffin for Greeley Central, dashing any hopes the Wildcats had of salvaging a tie.
Sophomore Shayna Maypole added a third goal for good measure on a free kick from 30 yards out with 2 minutes remaining.
“It’s really important for us (to win the first game),” Schulz said. “Last year we opened up our season playing the same team and we beat them 1-0. This time we got them 3-0. It’s important to get the kids off to a good fast start.”
The Mavericks, who went 13-1 last year before losing to Frontier Academy in the first round of the postseason, look to be poised for another solid run despite their youth. Having only four seniors, the team relies heavily on a number of sophomores to help carry the load. But the group seems more than capable. They are led by last season’s leading scorer Lu, who netted 18 goals and added 10 assists as a freshman a year ago.
“We take it one week at a time, one game at a time,” Schulz said. “Ultimately we want to make it into the playoffs again, repeat as conference champions and go further in the playoffs. But we’ve got to take it one game at a time.”
Mead 3, Greeley Central 0
At Mead H.S.
Greeley Central (0-2, 0-0) 0 0 — 0
Mead (1-0, 0-0) 0 3 — 3
Goals (assists) — Mead: Goff (McKrola), 55th minute; Lu (McKrola), 65th minute; Maypole, 78th minute
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) —Mead: Sami Davison (80-0-3). Greeley Central: (80-3-12)