LAFAYETTE — Andrea Kim to the rescue.
Knowing leading scorer Katherine Burns was out of the lineup on Wednesday, the Centaurus junior laced up her cleats a little tighter with defending state champion Air Academy coming to town.
Leading the Centaurus attack, Kim scored a career-high six goals and led an early charge that led to a 19-8 win over the reigning champs.
“Katherine is always driving hard and looking for the feed, and she always has her head up,” Kim said. “We knew she was missing but we can get scoring from everyone all around our offense. It was a total team effort today. I just happened to be the one with the ball.”
Centaurus (7-2) is ranked fifth by the latest CHSAANow.com poll, while Air Academy (5-2, 2-0 Southern League) is ranked seventh, so one hot player likely wasn’t going to tip the scales too far in either direction. With Kim, who now leads Centaurus with 21 goals, scoring five of her six goals in the first half, all the Centaurus players started white-hot on Wednesday.
Metro League-leading Centaurus scored on its first six shots and led 8-0 until Air Academy’s Libby Miller finally put her team on the board 17 minutes into the game. After a three-goal barrage in the final minute of the first half, Centaurus took a 12-2 lead into halftime and opened the second half with a running clock advantage.
“When you can beat a good team and be in control most of the way, it’s good for your confidence,” first-year Centaurus head coach Bob Kline said. “We started slow this year and we have new coaches but now we’re finding our rhythm. We had a tough game against Mullen on Monday and we have five injured players, so when you add all of that in, I’m really happy with it.”
By game’s end, Centaurus senior Sarah Myres, who missed the first three games of the season, also scored six goals and has now scored 12 goals in her past two games. Junior Audrey Brown registered a hat trick and senior Skye Bradley scored twice.
The Centaurus defensive front held its own and when it broke down, sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Pittser shut the door on one Air Academy attack after another. Pittser also did her part in driving up the early lead, saving seven of Air Academy’s first nine shots. She finished with 11 saves.
“I want to try to keep every team under 10 this year, whatever team we’re playing,” Pittser said. “It definitely helps to be backed by a great defense. We’re an ambitious team and we’re always going to work really hard together and that’s what we did today.”
Centaurus, which ended its 2014 season with a last-minute loss to Cherry Creek in the state semifinals, also defeated Air Academy 17-9 last year. Centaurus will begin its Metro League schedule against Kent Denver (2-3) on Friday in Englewood.
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Centaurus 19, Air Academy 8
At Centaurus HS
Air Academy (5-2) 2 6 — 8
Centaurus (7-2) 12 7 — 19
Goals — Air Academy: Maddy Jahelka 2, Libby Miller 2, Taylor Christensen 2, Kennedy Jamieson, Whitney Moran; Centaurus: Andrea Kim 6, Sarah Myres 6, Audrey Brown 3, Skye Bradley 2, Madison Hamilton, Hayley Drapkin.
Assists — Air Academy: Anna Sawyer 3, Maddy Jahelka; Centaurus: Sarah Myres 4, Andrea Kim 2, Skye Bradley 2, Claire Sullivan 2, Madison Hamilton, Hayley Drapkin, Tessa Hannigan, Morgan Pittser, Quinn Trudel.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Air Academy: Isabel Marbaker (50-19-7); Centaurus: Morgan Pittser (50-8-11).