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Bears get best of Kadets for first time
MONUMENT • The firsts just keep coming for the Palmer Ridge boys’ soccer team.
Five days after defeating 4A rival Cheyenne Mountain for the first time, the Pikes Peak No. 1 Bears managed the same feat against No. 3 Air Academy with an impressive 3-0 victory at Don Breese Stadium on Tuesday night. A balanced offensive attack and stingy defense propelled Palmer Ridge (7-1-1, 2-0 4A Pikes Peak) past the Kadets (3-4-1, 1-1) and further put the Bears in the driver’s seat for a league title.
Senior Grant Ellis got the scoring started 14:05 into the game by depositing a Luke Sinkola rebound in the net past Air Academy sophomore goalie Matthew Pipan. That was the score until 5:37 into the second half, when junior Gustav Seifert beat Pipan with a shot in the bottom right corner of the net.
Junior Chase Bellefeuille iced the game with 17:40 remaining when he finished off a ricochet from senior Andrew Bell’s shot. The Bears had considerable additional scoring chances, clanging shots off the crossbar and just wide of the net.
“We planned for this game and knew what they were going to bring, so we just played our game,” said Ellis, who also scored the Bears’ first goal against Cheyenne Mountain. “This is our home field, so we don’t want to lose at home. We’re bringing some confidence to the field and have some quality players, and that shows in everything we do.”
The victory gave Palmer Ridge — which lost in the second round of the state tournament in overtime to the Indians last year — a 22-8 advantage in goals scored and four shutout wins this season.
“I’m happy with the goals we scored and the way we dominated in the second half,” Palmer Ridge coach Nick Odil said. “The last couple games, I’ve been really impressed with my defense, and they did a really good job (tonight) of shutting down some really good, quick players. It gets frustrating when (a defense) keeps shutting you down back there.”
Air Academy was unable to give the Bears’ defense any serious threats, and most of its shots were straight on and ended up in the arms of Palmer Ridge goalie John Kochanski.
The Kadets have lost three of five, and coach Espen Hosoien was less than pleased by his team’s intensity against the Bears.
“We have some returning players who have been around the varsity level for a couple years, and I don’t think they’re pulling their weight,” Hosoien said. “We have a young team, and it looks like it’s (only) our younger players who are showing the desire and willingness to work. That’s disturbing to me.”
Next up for Palmer Ridge is arch rival Lewis-Palmer on Thursday in a co-home game of sorts at Don Breese Stadium.
“They’re going to give us their absolute best game, and we’ve beaten them the last two years, but it’s been 1-0,” Odil said. “So, we know we’re going to get a great game from Lewis-Palmer on Thursday.”