LONGMONT — Early in the second half, after Morgan Lu had already burned Rocky Mountain Lutheran twice, the Eagles goalie didn’t want it to happen again.
“Pick up No. 22!” Jessica Dalbotten shouted to her defenders.
The Rocky Mountain players heeded the advice then, but 10 minutes later, they did forget about the Mead sophomore. Lu took a nifty pass from freshman Alex Juarez and put a shot past Dalbotten to complete her hat trick.
The feat put an exclamation point on the Mavericks’ 4-0 win Thursday night. With the victory, Mead (9-2, 6-0) is two games up in the 3A Region 4 League with two conference games to go. Mathematically, the Mavericks could still be caught but realistically they are on their way to a second straight league crown.
“It’s pretty gratifying,” coach Mike Schulz said. “To repeat in only the second year you’ve had the program is pretty great.”
Lu had a lot to do with their success Thursday. She had two goals in the win against Berthoud on Tuesday and she followed that up with another great showing against Rocky Mountain Lutheran. She got the Mavericks on the board midway through the first period when she got to a loose ball and beat Dalbotten on the far post.
“The goalie didn’t communicate with her defender so I just ran up and took advantage of that and hit the outside post,” she said. “We started to get into our groove after that.”
That’s putting it mildly. Mead dominated play for the rest of the game, reducing goalie Samantha Davison to a mere spectator. The Mavericks mounted rush after rush and it finally paid off when Lu beat Dalbotten to the ball, maneuvered around the goalie and scored into an empty net with 23 seconds left in the first half.
“I’m not a very good shooter so I like to get around the goalie and shoot it on the ground,” she said.
The Eagles started paying more attention, but Lu got her third one midway through the second half.
“I always hear the other team saying before the game, ‘Mark 22!'” Schulz said. “But she gets loose.”
Juarez finished the scoring with a late goal, and the Mavericks marked their first game under the lights with a win.
“It was our first night game, our first senior night, so we were excited to play,” Lu said.
With just three games left before the Class 3A playoffs, winning is tantamount, but improving is just as important. Schulz had the best of both worlds against Rocky Mountain Lutheran.
“What I was hoping to see was a great possession game. Possess, possess and then get a quick strike,” he said. “We’re playing better soccer. It’s getting close to where we can think we should be playing our best soccer.”
Mead 4, RM Lutheran 0
At Mead H.S.
Rocky Mtn. Lutheran (4-7, 1-6) 0 0 — 0
Mead (9-2, 6-2) 2 2 — 4
Goals — Mead: Morgan Lu, 20th minute; Lu, 40th minute; Lu, 61st minute; Alex Juarez, 75th minute. Rocky Mountain Lutheran: None.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Rocky Mountain Lutheran: Jessica Dalbotten (80-4-20); Mead: Samantha Davison (70-0-4); Molly Gehringer (10-0-0).