Unbeaten Air Academy dominates Windsor in 4A soccer tournament victory

0
Photo - Sand Creek's Cayden Gilbert, left, looks to get past Air Academy forward Thaddaeus Dewing at the K-Dome at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on Tuesday October 10, 2017. The Kadets won the game 4-1. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).
Sand Creek's Cayden Gilbert, left, looks to get past Air Academy forward Thaddaeus Dewing at the K-Dome at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on Tuesday October 10, 2017. The Kadets won the game 4-1. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

The quest for perfection continues.

Air Academy’s unbeaten soccer team powered to a 4-1 victory over Windsor in the 4A state tournament. The Kadets started slow, but cruised to the victory at home with a dominating second half Tuesday.

The home win pushes the Kadets (17-0) to the final eight of the 4A tournament. The Kadets will play Skyline on Saturday at Air Academy.

Coach Espen Hosoien realizes many observers believe his team can, and maybe even should, win the state title, but he’s taken care to avoid the subject of ruling Colorado.

“That’s definitely our goal,” he said. “I try deliberately to not talk about the state title. I talk about the process instead. We know we’re good enough to make it there if we keep our focus and play like we know we can.”

Several players on the current team had big brothers who played on the 2014 Kadet team that finished 20-0 and won the state title. This adds to the expectations, and the pressure.

“I definitely think it can get to our heads, but overall we’re not worried about our records,” captain Kristian Hooker said. “The regular season is done. The past is the past.”

The Kadets opened the scoring at 7:20 in the first half when Hooker scored on a low-flying left-footed shot from 20 yards. Deane Swickard assisted on the score.

“I thought about taking it with my right,” Hooker said, “but coach always tells us take a touch if you have it, so I thought I’d try it out, keep it low and hope it would go in.”

Air Academy pushed the lead to 2-0 early in the second half when Luke Louthan scored after a scramble in front of the goal. Windsor’s goalkeeper struggled to control a shot by Aiden Schwenke, the ball came loose and Louthan swooped in for the point-blank score.

Windsor scored to cut the lead to 2-1, adding a touch of drama to a season that has featured little drama. But the tension eased when Air Academy’s Thaddaeus Dewing ripped down the left side of the field and scored on a tough angle to the far post.

Ryan Self clinched the victory with 10:20 left, scoring from close range to give the Kadets a 4-1 lead.