Air Academy’s Adin Schwenke remembers the moment clearly, which is no surprise. How could he forget the day he ruled Colorado?
The Kadets scored in the 92nd minute to defeat Centaurus for the 4A soccer title, and the entire team raced to the stands to celebrate with friends and family.
“Last year, that feeling was unbelievable,” Schwenke said. “To go into the stands, knowing you’ve won. I’d love to go back there again. Playing in that kind of setting, it’s once in a lifetime.”
“Hopefully twice in a lifetime for this team here.”
Air Academy defeated The Classical Academy, 4-2, Tuesday night in a highly entertaining clash of state 4A powers. The Kadets are roaring again, packed with offensive might.
So, yes, the Kadets have every reason to believe they can grab once-in-a-lifetime happiness twice in their short lifetimes.
But it won’t be easy. No 4A team has repeated as champion in the 21st century, and nine different teams have won the title since 2006, with Air Academy claiming state titles in 2010, 2014 and last season.
Soccer is quirky. A team can dominate a game and still lose, 1-0. It’s the nature of the sport, and the abundance of soccer upsets is the best explanation for the failure of a 4A team to repeat in this century.
Coach Espen Hosoien takes a wise approach to the topic of repeating as champs. He knows the topic is hovering over this season’s team, but he isn’t intimidated of the subject.
“We are equally as hungry as last year,” Hosoien said. “Winning is fun, and it’s something that these guys like to do.
“It was fun last year and we’d like to do it again. The hunger, the passion, it’s still there.”
Hosoien talks more about chasing perfection, or something close to it, than he does about winning. He was, for example, not thrilled with Tuesday’s victory.
Yes, his attack hummed, but the Kadets allowed two goals.
Thaddaeus Dewing collected two assists against TCA, but he joined his coach in shrugging about the team’s overall performance.
“We’re never happy when we give up two goals,” Dewing said. “We’ll take the win, but we’re not going to be happy until they don’t score and we score a lot.”
Here’s another thing to remember about repeating:
Every 4A team in the state, and especially the powerful ones, are focused on toppling the champs.
The Kadets understand this truth. And welcome it.
“To have that target on your back, that’s what I like to play for, knowing teams are coming for us because we won last year,” Schwenke said. “It pushes me harder. I think it pushes the whole team.”