LONGMONT — A 3-1 loss to Air Academy Wednesday night finished the season for the Mead girls soccer program, spelling the end of the line for a senior class Mavericks coach Shane Adler said left the future bright for years to come.
Among them, senior Haley Williams stood by her younger sister Averi afterward — both in tears, with mixed emotions.
The elder finished her career as the program’s leader in both goals and points, and witnessed the sophomore score her first playoff goal on this night. The moment was lasting, she said. An ending, though, is always tough.
“Just playing with her and seeing her score there,” Haley said. “That was so special.”
On a bittersweet and pleasant evening behind the school, Mead, seeded No. 9 ninth in Class 4A’s state playoffs, hosted in the first round for the second time in four years. But again, it drew a perennial southern power.
Mirrors of before, the Mavericks had fallen to 21-seeded Cheyenne Mountain in 2019 when the Red-Tailed Hawks (then called the Indians) went on to win the state title. This time, the Kadets, looking every bit like a miscast of a 24 seed, won a playoff game for the fifth time in the past six seasons. Twice before in that span, they’ve reached the state quarterfinals.
First question when hearing about the draw was “’How?’, honestly,” Adler said. “I don’t know how the numbers work, but at first it was a feeling of being thrown off by the draw. And then it was an opportunity to go up against a great program and to gain that experience.”
Trailing 2-0, the younger Williams answered a pair of goals from Air Academy’s Jocelyn Ollivierre and Lauren Attias with one of her own in the 47th minute. Attempting to cross the ball to her older sister, the chance instead hit off a Kadets defender and skipped by keeper Emily Rodriguez.
The senior sister had another strong look to tie things in the 60th, yet her shot from outside the box was hunkered in. She finished her high school career with 60 goals and 133 points.
“It’s really sad but I’m so proud of her and everything she’s accomplished,” Averi said of Haley. “I’m so excited to see what she’s going to do. I’m so glad I was a part of this team with her the past two years.”
Attias sealed things in the 75th, adding her second goal of the half on a setup that looked much like the first. Running down the left side of the box, she speared a chance up and over keeper Bella Wright with 5:11 remaining.
“Tonight is tough,” Adler said, “but I think the seniors left our future bright.”
Mead’s season was highlighted by a second-place finish in the 5A/4A NCAC. It won its last four games in the regular season, including one over previously undefeated Centaurus to earn a top-10 seed in the playoffs.
Air Academy will face No. 8 Northridge in the second round Saturday.