COMMERCE CITY — The defending Class 3A state champion Jefferson Academy girls soccer team had more than its share of setbacks in 2019 and still found a way to reach the state title game.
The Jaguars just didn’t have enough left in the tank to win their second state title in as many years.
At Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Tuesday night, the Jefferson Academy girls fell 3-0 to Colorado Academy on a chilly night that simply wasn’t kind to the Jaguars.
“The way our girls started out, we were looking pretty good,” Jaguars head coach Denise Sutton said. “But we’ve just been gassed and we’ve had some critical injuries. So what they’ve accomplished given those injuries, for us to be in this game tonight, is really amazing and it’s totally fantastic.
“We’ve battled and we’ve come up with some freshmen and we did everything we could this season.
On top of several girls missing time with concussions and other injuries, the Jaguars (17-2-1) took a colossal hit when team leader and top player Mira Houck tore her ACL early in the season. Playing shorthanded against a team like Colorado Academy (19-1) made the Jaguars defending their title an uphill battle to begin with.
“They just played very well,” Sutton said. “They have some truly unbelievable players and they really played well today.”
With 31 minutes, 1 second left in the second half, Colorado Academy senior Mari Annest scored the go-ahead goal on a free kick from just outside the left corner of the box. She then added a second goal with a rocket shot off her left foot in the 57th minute. Annest, who has 39 goals and 16 assists, leads the Mustangs with 94 points and will play at Northwestern.
In the 59th minute, Catie Groves scored a third goal for Colorado Academy.
JA goalie Brooklynn Kirkpatrick had four saves Tuesday night.
The Jaguars defeated Kent Denver, 4-1, in penalty kicks to win the state title last season.
Class 3A state championship game
Colorado Academy 3, Jefferson Academy 0
At Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Jefferson Academy (17-2-1) 0 0 — 0
Colorado Academy (19-1) 0 3 — 3
Goals (assists) —Colorado Academy: Annest, 48th minute; Annest, 57th; Groves, 59th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Jefferson Academy: Kirkpatrick (80-3-4); Colorado Academy: Cramer (80-0-3).