DENVER -- Colorado Academy coach Daan Polders had one message for his girls going into the 2013 field hockey state championship: “Leave your heart on the field.”
On Monday, Colorado Academy won its second consecutive field hockey state championship at a frigid All-City Stadium following a 2-0 win over Cherry Creek.
The Mustangs finished the 2013 season a perfect 17-0 -- the first time in school history -- have now won 24 straight games, and are a combined record of 33-0-2 since they lost in the state championship to Kent Denver in 2011.
“We built off of the success of last year,” said Polders, who has now won a championship in both of his years coaching at the school. “We had an extraordinarily good season last year especially for me being a first year coach -- I didn’t know what to expect.”
Monday, Colorado Academy got off to a quick start when junior Henley Hall snuck a shot past Casey Hillyard from about three yards with 23:20 left in the first half. The offensive end was dominated by Colorado Academy in the first half. Cherry Creek had their hands full with Mandy Weeks and Hall creating multiple scoring chances.
Cherry Creek made some adjustments offensively, and came out striking in the beginning of the second half. Senior Quin Egan started as goalie in the second half for Cherry Creek, but wasn’t able to hold back Colorado Academy’s forwards.
Senior Colorado Academy captain Julia Murphy tallied a goal with 13 minutes left in the second half with a high shot to the top right corner from just outside the goalie’s box. Then, Colorado Academy was able to hold off Cherry Creek the remainder of the game with ball possession.
Hall turned up her game coming into the state tournament. In the semifinals, she scored two goals en route to her team beating Palmer Ridge 7-2.
Colorado Academy beat Cherry Creek 3-1 in their regular season meeting on Sept. 25.
Cherry Creek upset No. 2 Kent Denver in the semifinals to reach the state championship.
Polders has been instrumental in the growth of the sport at Colorado Academy. The JV field hockey team also went undefeated this year.
“We’ve built up a really good program, the sport has grown at (Colorado Academy),” Hall said. “The entire program has become really good because of Daan. He’s a really good coach.”