LONGMONT — Camilla Lee didn’t see a whole lot of action Thursday night for the Mead soccer team, but she certainly made the most of her time on the pitch.
After playing sparingly in the first half, Lee spent the first 26 minutes of the second half trying to stay warm on the Mavericks bench. But after star junior Morgan Lu left the game with a knee injury, Lee entered the contest and quickly broke open a close game to fuel Mead to a 3-0 non-conference victory over visiting Estes Park.
Less than a minute after replacing Lu, Lee split a group of four Bobcat defenders and rocketed a shot past Estes Park keeper Rachel Hughes to give the Mavericks a 2-0 cushion.
“It felt amazing,” said Lee, who estimated she had been in for only 45 seconds before scoring the goal. “All I remember is tapping it just past the last defender, taking one more touch and just going for it.”
Mead (5-0-1, 3-0-1 4A Tri-Valley League) received an insurance goal from Danielle Higgins a short time later to finish off the Bobcats (1-1-1).
Lu, who entered the game already banged up, was a major force before leaving with the injury, creating several scoring chances that kept the pressure on the Bobcats.
“We’re not sure,” Mead coach Mike Schulz said about Lu’s status. “She has some ice on her knee. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
The Mavericks opened the scoring in the sixth minute, getting a gift-wrapped goal after a mental lapse by Hughes, who played an uncontested ball just outside the goal box, resulting in a handball foul.
Maddie Kessler nestled the ensuing free kick inside the top left corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead.
Estes Park was fortunate to get out of the first half down by only one goal. The Mavericks dominated play, putting eight other shots on frame in the first 40 minutes. Lu had a goal waved off in the 18th minute because the ball had traveled over the end line before Kessler was able to center it, and Mead had another shot bounce off the crossbar with five minutes to play in the first half.
“It was frustrating, but we had been struggling with the possession game the last couple of games so I was really pleased to see the way we were playing in that first half,” Schulz said. “We just couldn’t find the net.”
The Bobcats, meanwhile, didn’t mount much of an attack in the first 40 minutes, as the Mavericks’ midfield trio of Kasey McKrola, Alex Juarez and Emily Adler controlled the action and continually tilted play back toward the Estes Park end of the field.
In fact, the Bobcats’ only shot of the game came immediately following Lee’s goal in the second half and was easily handled by Mead keeper Shayna Maypole.
Mead 3, Estes Park 0
At Mead High School
Estes Park 0 0 — 0
Mead 1 2 — 3
Goals (assists) — Mead: Maddie Kessler, 6th minute; Camilla Lee, 66th minute; Danielle Higgins (Kasey McKrola), 70th minute.
Goalkeepers (Minutes-goals allowed-saves) — Estes Park: Rachel Hughes (80-3-11); Mead: Shayna Maypole (80-0-1).