Boulder Daily Camera
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
LAFAYETTE — Iris Zhang swished another few goals in a torrid start to her year as Peak to Peak added to its running win total on Thursday evening.
Check in again … in two weeks.
Zhang scored her team-leading seventh goal of the season, including the game-winner with her head in the 49th minute, and the Pumas pushed past The Academy 3-2 in their last game before spring break.
The junior forward led the team with 11 goals a year ago, but her current pace certainly suggests an even bigger output this season. She scored four times in an 8-2 win over Longmont on Tuesday and followed it with a trio of brilliant efforts against the Wildcats to move her team to 3-0.
“We knew coming into this season she was going to put up big, big numbers,” Peak to Peak coach Mark Schieffer said. “Maybe coming into the season, we thought 20 was a number for her to hit. Now, I’m thinking 30. That’d be nice.”
For more goals and wins, Zhang and Peak to Peak will have to wait 12 days before its next game. Part II of its season starts with the teams that played in last year’s state title game, with CHSAANow.com No. 3 Kent Denver on April 3, and No. 1 and defending-champ Jefferson Academy on April 5.
“I’m going to let these guys enjoy being undefeated going into the break,” Schieffer said. “And then we’re going to have two nice days of practice and we’re going to see if we can get a couple points on the road against those two strong teams.”
Karinne Walther stopped six shots, notching her second win in as many starts in net for the Pumas. The sophomore has split time with last year’s primary keeper, Rachel Willette, through the first three games. Willette had a 14-save shutout against Niwot on March 12.
Kaylie Gabel had both goals against her for The Academy. The Wildcats senior tied the game 1-1 on a breakaway that sprung out of a defensive breakdown in the 48th minute. She split the defense around midfield, outran the backfield to get an unobstructed look a few yards away, and beat Walther to the left.
Back came Zhang, though. A minute following Gabel’s tying score, the Pumas forged an all-out barrage on net and were awarded a corner after a chance lipped off a defender and spun out the backline. Emma Chewning’s perfectly-placed ball then found Zhang, who made it 2-1 with a flick of her neck.
Zhang made it 3-1 in the 71st, which gave her the hat trick, before Gabel pulled it within 3-2 in the 72nd. The Pumas, however, held on in the final minutes and Zhang nearly added to her goal count with a couple other nice looks.
Now, time for a deserved yet untimely break.
“After spring break, we play Kent Denver and then Jefferson Academy, one of our two biggest rivals, and so, yeah, I want to keep going,” Zhang said before conceding. “But it’s nice to have a break.”
Brent W. New: email@example.com and @brentwnew
Peak to Peak 3, The Academy 2
At Peak to Peak
The Academy (0-2) 0 2 — 2
Goals (assists) —The Academy: Gabel (Warner) 48th minute; Gabel (Stricker) 72nd. Peak to Peak: Zhang (unassisted) 33rd; Zhang (Chewning) 49th; Zhang (unassisted) 71st.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — The Academy: Wattier (80-3-4); Peak to Peak: Walther (80-2-6).