Sometimes a win is not enough.
Judging by their somber faces and slumped shoulders, you'd think that the Air Academy boys' soccer players lost their nonconference match against Rampart on Thursday afternoon. But that assumption would be completely off.
Junior Luke Louthan got the ball about a minute into overtime, took a few dribbles in front of a defender and fired the game-winner from about 20 yards to lift Air Academy to a 2-1 win at D-20 Stadium. Apparently, it was a long-awaited goal for the Kadets, who remained unbeaten at 8-0 and the top-ranked 4A team in the state, according to MaxPreps.com.
"It should have not gone into overtime," Louthan said. "We were working real hard but not quite finishing."
His coach agreed.
"We go about business in a different way," said Espen Hosoien, whose Kadets have recorded three shutouts this season. "I just want us to play much better than we did today."
He was overheard telling his players after the win that they can do better, that they could put away teams much earlier.
It was the teams' final nonconference games before opening up their respective league seasons next week.
Early in Thursday's game, it was the Kadets who were in control. They came out firing and were in scoring position for much of the first half. But things truly didn't begin to look their way until the 29th minute, when Ryan Self scored on an assist from fellow senior midfielder Jacob Martino.
In the second half, Air Academy continue to take charge with shots hitting the goal posts and keeping the ball, for the most part, in the opponent's end. However, it was far from over against the Rams (5-3).
In the 69th minute, Rampart tied it up with a score by sophomore midfielder David Peters, who got an assist from senior midfielder Afe Zeru.
The Kadets had one final attack at the end of regulation, but the Rams' David Glazener came up with back-to-back stops just seconds before time ran out to send it into overtime. The sophomore goalkeeper finished with 11 saves.
It didn't take long for the Kadets to come up with the win, though -- thanks to Louthan's footwork.
But Air Academy wasn't the only disappointed team.
Even with their somber faces and slumped shoulders, Rampart's players thought they were close to the upset.
"I commend us for fighting in the second half and getting the tying goal," Rams coach Karl Anderson said. "But it's disappointing when you fight back so hard against a very good team to lose in the first couple minutes (in overtime)."