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Girls soccer: Dawson completes the feat, overwhelms Telluride in 2A state title game

Mustangs explode late in first half, go on to win second title in the sport

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COLORADO SPRINGS — After falling behind 1-0 early, the Dawson Mustangs kept their composure and then some on Saturday to win their second Class 2A girls soccer title in the past three seasons.

The Mustangs answered Telluride’s strong start with five goals in the next 25 minutes en route to a 15-4 victory at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs.

Senior Degen Miller, who missed the 2018 state championship-winning game with a broken collarbone, scored four goals to lead Dawson. She said it was an emotional finish to her high school career.

“We’re all just so excited but it’s kind of sad,” said Miller, who is committed to the University of Virginia. “I’m a senior and for all the other seniors and me, it’s a sad last game. But we’re all so happy we finished on a win.”

Fellow senior Elise Freedman capped her career with a hat trick, and junior Helen Leon and freshman Lauren Muniz also had three goals apiece, leading a relentless Mustangs’ offense. Dawson coach David Criswell said the Mustangs’ midfield, which also included sophomore Maddy Timms, played a big role in bringing home the hardware.

“They were the glue that held everything together in the midfield,” Criswell said.

Dawson’s other goal scorers included Timms and sophomore Madison Shaw. Six different Mustangs scored to help take down Telluride in what was the highest scoring girls soccer title game in CHSAA history. Miller echoed Criswell’s words on the strong midfield play.

“I think we played really well as a team and a lot of it was due to that,” Miller said.

Dawson has appeared in every 2A title game since the classification was established in 2015. That includes six games, with the 2020 season being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Criswell said he knew the talent was there from the beginning, but that this group’s chemistry stood out to him.

“They’re just such a cohesive team and it added to what they could do on the field,” Criswell said. “It was such an impressive performance all season. But wow, what a way to finish it off.”

Along with saying goodbye to its talented senior class, Dawson also bid farewell to Criswell who coached his final game in the blue and white. Miller said it was important to send him out the right way.

“We’ve all been super close with him so it’s really awesome that we won that for him,” she said.

Criswell, who will be moving to Chicago, led the Mustangs to the state championship game in each of his three seasons. His final win marked a 12-1 season and a 39-7 career at Dawson.