DENVER — Dawson School claimed a spot in the girls’ soccer finale for a fourth straight year following a commanding victory in the Class 2A semifinals.
Now onto Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
With a different ending in mind.
Cameron Epstein scored twice on Wednesday as the top-seeded Mustangs beat No. 4 Crested Butte 3-0 to book their return trip to high school soccer’s biggest stage.
Kaitlyn Day also had a goal and Kate Gallop secured her 11th shutout of the year for Dawson School (15-2), which is hoping this season will end in gold after falling short in the last three title games.
The Mustangs will face either No. 2 Denver Christian or No. 3 Fountain Valley Tuesday at the Colorado Rapids’ home park.
“As one of our players said, fourth time’s a charm,” Dawson coach David Criswell said. “They were so motivated to get there after the last three years. They’ve been playing and practicing so hard. I’m really proud of them.”
The Mustangs set the tone early under the sun at All-City Stadium, striking in the fourth minute as Epstein took one touch in the box and spun a low-liner into the left side of the net.
The chances continued throughout the first half only to be denied by Crested Butte keeper Rachel Potoker, who provided the Titans (12-3-1) a life raft of hope with 21 saves.
Holding just a 1-0 lead, though, Dawson didn’t panic.
“I think we maybe started out a little bit frantic just because we want to make it to the championship so bad,” Epstein said. “Staying poised and calm and getting that first goal in such a calm way set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Day made it 2-0 with a spear from just outside the box and through the outstretched hands of Potoker in the 49th minute and Epstein added her second of the game and 11th of the season in the 54th.
The Mustangs’ season-long dominance continued — even without top scorer Degen Miller, who scored 25 goals in eight games before breaking her collarbone.
Forgoing losses to 3A’s Liberty Common and The Academy, their margin of victory has been 91 goals-to-five this year.
“This is where we wanted to get to,” Gallop said. “Now we have our eyes on state. But we’ve gone through (this season) looking at what we can do to get better today and get better for the future. And it’s just built off itself.”
DAWSON SCHOOL 3, CRESTED BUTTE 0
At All-City Stadium
Crested Butte (12-3-1) 0 0 — 0
Dawson School (15-2) 1 2 — 3
Goals (assists) —Crested Butte: None; Dawson School: Cameron Epstein (unassisted) 4th minute, Kaitlyn Day (unassisted) 49th, Epstein (Elise Freedman) 54th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Crested Butte: Rachel Potoker (80-3-21); Dawson School: Kate Gallop (80-0-6).