Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
LONGMONT — Those who watched the Peak to Peak girls soccer team a few short years ago had good reason to believe they would have been one of the better Class 4A teams in the state, had the Pumas been placed at that level.
They are still in Class 3A for the foreseeable future, but so far this 2016 campaign they are making their mark by playing and beating some pretty good 4A programs. Wednesday, it was a purely dominant effort against Longmont — a 4-0 win that featured four different scorers for the second time in three days.
Their other win, as they moved to 2-1 on the season, came on Monday against a typically powerful Niwot squad.
“We’re a young team, and the fact we’re starting off so strong is really going to give us a lot of confidence as we get into playoffs and the real season,” said junior Kenna Hazzard, who got the Pumas on the board and opened the floodgates in the final 20 minutes of play. “We’re hoping to make it farther than last year, maybe even back to state like they did a couple years ago.”
Only three seniors are on the Peak to Peak roster, and they would have been freshmen when the Pumas completed a run of two titles and three straight title game appearances.
But a lot of the girls are returning from a quarterfinals appearance last year, and they’re hungry for more. That combined with a large freshmen class already contributing, the bar has been set pretty high.
That the freshmen are already turning heads is no surprise to Hazzard.
“They’re already helping carry this team,” Hazzard said. “They’re a lot of the base of the team.”
“Our numbers have been down the past couple years, but we had 15 freshmen come in and a lot of them are club players,” said Peak to Peak coach Joe Swanson. “A lot of them already know what they’re doing when the step out on that field.”
The Trojans were caught a step behind a couple of those freshmen at Everly-Montgomery Field. Emma Shepherd scored a penalty kick in the 64th minute when speedy frosh Lindsay Hudson was tackled in the goal box, and Shepherd assisted on sophomore Emma Begley’s header in the 71st minute to make it 3-0.
Hudson then fed a nice ball to Mia Mancuso for the final score. The Pumas also have two freshmen goalies who have split time — Kinzie Short and Rachel Willette were rarely tested Wednesday.
Longmont coach Mike DiGiallonardo is also grooming a younger group, with sophomores galore on his roster. Though they had a handful of runs through the midfield that featured solid touch-passing, the Trojans (0-2) were still just a hair off on the tail end of things, resulting in just two shots on goal.
“We’ve got some growing pains right now and just are trying to connect all the way down the field,” DiGiallonardo said. “We need to find that one person to push and lead. The last two games have really set the pace for us on trying to get some consistency.”
Peak to Peak is scheduled to play Frontier Academy on Friday, while Longmont has a trip down to Mesa Ridge scheduled Saturday.
Peak to Peak 4, Longmont 0
At Everly-Montgomery Field
Peak to Peak (2-1)
Goals (assists) —
Peak to Peak: Kenna Hazzard (Ashley Buck assist), 60th minute; Peak to Peak: Emma Shepherd (penalty kick), 64th minute; Peak to Peak: Emma Begley (Shepherd, Hudson assists), 71st minute; Peak to Peak: Mia Mancuso (Lindsay Hudson assist), 76th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) —
Peak to Peak: Kinzie Short (40-0-1), Rachel Willette (40-0-1); Longmont: Franchesska Ramirez (80-4-4).