A convincing win on a special night was just what the Air Academy girls' lacrosse team gave its fans Wednesday.
MacEllen McDonough scored five goals and Air Academy used a 7-0 run to pull away in a 17-6 win over Rampart on a blustery and chilly night at the K-Dome. It was the fourth consecutive win for the Kadets (9-1, 4-0 5A Southern) and kept them unbeaten in league play.
The win came on a night when Air Academy - clad in pink jerseys - honored a number of people that are near and dear to the Kadets' family who have been affected by breast cancer. McDonough, who was playing in honor of her late grandmother Maxine Ellen Rosenthal, led all scorers and scored the final two goals of the Kadets' 7-0 run.
"We stuck to what we know how to do on defense, stuck together and communicated," said McDonough, one of seven Air Academy seniors. "When we feel like we really need to turn it on, we can always turn it on."
Rampart (9-4, 3-2) struck first on a goal by Kelli Warmouth for a 1-0 lead, but Air Academy reeled off the next four goals. The Rams cut the Kadets' lead to 4-2 and 5-3 midway through the opening half, but Air Academy scored the last three goals of the first half and the first four of the second half to build a 12-3 advantage.
The teams traded goals most of the remainder of the second half before Air Academy closed out the game with three consecutive scores.
Freshman Kennedy Jamieson scored three of her four goals in the second half, senior Emily Trousil had three goals, and Natalie Berg and Maddie Jahelka each chipped in two for the Kadets.
Air Academy coach Sean Harmon was pleased by the game's result, but said his team still has ample room for improvement.
"Defensively, Rampart is always very good, and it took us a while to get it together and score some goals," he said. "We're making strides, but the number-one goal for this team is a state championship. We've got to learn how to play a full 50-minute game, and I think that's what our problem is right now."
Rampart, which entered the game leading the Southern League in scoring, could never get its offense going against last year's state semifinalists. The Rams have dropped three of four, but coach Melissa Rausch is optimistic about her team's potential for the rest of the season.
"Air Academy is one of the top teams in the state, and we always look at them as a team we can scale how far we've come as a team," she said. "Our team has definitely done a lot to improve on last year. We're really looking forward to Friday against Cheyenne Mountain and Wednesday against Palmer, and if we play the way we did today, I think we'll have two great games."
Warmouth led Rampart with three goals, and Allie Popelar added two.