Defense of Air Academy's girls' soccer crown begins emphatically

BY doug fitzgerald preps@gazette.com - Published: May 7, 2013 | 9:25 pm 0

Hailey Peterman had a hat trick - over a span of just 1 minute, 46 seconds - as Air Academy roared past Mesa Ridge 10-0 in the first round of the 4A girls' state soccer tournament Tuesday at the K-Dome.

No. 28-seeded Mesa Ridge (9-6-1) came into the match averaging 4.8 goals this season, but the Kadets defense shut the Grizzlies down cold. Mesa Ridge didn't possess the ball in the Air Academy end until the 13th minute and didn't record a shot on goal in the match.

The big win came with a decided lack of excitement for the defending state champions, who seemed more like a team that had crossed an item off its 'to-do' list than a playoff winner.

'It's the first round of the playoffs and we're just trying to make sure that we're in the right spot, ' Air Academy coach Nancy Sibley said. 'Everyone likes winning but we need to be on the right track for the next four games. '

Peterman certainly helped find that right spot Tuesday. Her first score came after she stole the ball at midfield and split the defense with her first touch. Her shot from 18 yards at the 30:05 mark extended the Kadets' lead to 4-0.

Just over a minute later, Peterman received a through ball from Emma Schultz that caught her in stride 40 yards out. She took a pair of dribbles and beat Mesa Ridge goalkeeper Shannon Garrett with a shot into the right side.

'(Schultz) played a great through ball; it was amazing, ' Peterman said. 'That goal was all her. '

The third score came 42 seconds later when Peterman took possession on the right sideline and dribbled directly toward Garrett, who went to the ground on a fake. Peterman took a touch to the right and scored from 18 yards.

The three goals surpassed Peterman's season total of two.

'You have to take advantage of the chances you get, ' Peterman said. 'It's an awesome opportunity to come out here and play with these girls every day. '

Katie Rainsberger also matched her season total in the first half, scoring twice, as did Ashley Bautista, who scored once. Also scoring in the first half was Brooke Braden, whose 13th goal of the season opened the scoring in the third minute. Braden later assisted on two scores.

Haley Williamson, Ellie Peters and Megan Sammons scored second-half goals. The game was halted in the 66th minute due to the 10-goal rule.

No. 6 Air Academy will face No. 21 Discovery Canyon, an upset winner over No. 12 Durango, on Friday. The teams battled to a scoreless draw April 16.

'It's a good rematch, so we're looking forward to that, ' Sibley said. 'We just want to keep going forward. '

And make another check-mark on the 'to-do ' list.

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