Cheyenne Mountain’s boys’ soccer team needed a boost after a tough home loss on Saturday, and they got just that Tuesday night at Air Academy.
The Indians scored three second-half goals to break open a close game against their rival in a convincing 5-1 win over the Kadets at the K-Dome. Tyler Burns scored two goals and had an assist, and John Herd had a pair of goals to lead Cheyenne Mountain (6-3, 3-1 4A Pikes Peak).
The victory helped ease the sting of a 4-2 loss to Niwot on Saturday for the Indians, who have won three of four.
“We came off a tough loss when we were very flat on Saturday, and we stressed to the guys that this was probably for second place in the league,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Tomas Martinez said. “We didn’t want to back into the playoffs, and we wanted to step our game up. It was just a game of finishing chances, and it was nice to get on track with that.”
The majority of the first half was a feeling-out period for both squads, who are heated rivals in every sport. Air Academy (4-5, 1-2) took a 1-0 lead with 8:32 remaining in the half on a goal by Greg Dotseth off an assist from Mark Beatty, but it was a short-lived lead.
Herd took a stellar touch pass through traffic from Jaime Sanchez and beat Air Academy goalie Matthew Pipan to knot the game at 1-1 with 4:41 left in the first half. Burns gave the Indians the lead for good just 1:46 later with a goal off a pass from Anthony Sandoval.
“We got mentally focused over the weekend and took care of business today,” said Burns, one of 11 Cheyenne Mountain seniors. “We were down early, but we didn’t let it bother us. We got it back quickly and just kept putting them in.”
The second half was all Cheyenne Mountain, with Herd icing the game with a goal off a Burns assist 7:35 into the half. Burns’ second goal came with 21:38 remaining off a ricochet of a Sanchez shot that hit the crossbar, and David McDermed finished the scoring with 2:56 on the clock off a pass from Andrew Baer.
The Indians were without the services of starting goalie Erich Frey, who fractured his elbow in the Niwot loss. Senior Slade Custer, a transfer from Vanguard, filled in admirably for Cheyenne Mountain, much to the delight of Martinez.
“(Custer) had a great game, and moving forward, we’ll just rally around him,” Martinez said. “We were sweating bullets, so thank goodness (for him).”
The Kadets had several quality scoring chances in the second part of the second half, but were unable to finish.
“If we would have finished our chances, we would have been close, but we don’t finish our chances,” Air Academy coach Espen Hosoien said. “We’ve just got to stick our finger in the ground and realize this is where we’re at – 5-1. Each and every player has to decide what they want this season to be like, so we’ll see.”