COLORADO SPRINGS — It took nearly a month and a half, but Air Academy finally won a boys lacrosse game at home.
It hasn't been for lack of trying. Rather, the Kadets have simply played their best games on the road.
A 17-3 win over Pueblo West on Friday not only gave them their first win in front of their home fans, but it also gave them a huge confidence boost as they head into a showdown with the CHSAANow.com No. 3-ranked Indians from Cheyenne Mountain.
The Kadets (7-4 overall, 3-1 Class 4A Pikes Peak) currently sit at No. 7.
With any hopes of a league championship resting on what happens with the Indians, it was important for Air Academy to use Friday night's game to show why they shouldn't be taken lightly.
"It was really important to get our offense going out there," midfielder August Scott said. "We have to get the little pieces together when we play a serious team like Cheyenne Mountain so I think it was good to get out here and get our offense in a concrete motion."
Scott was one of two players to score three goals in the win over the Cyclones. Jake Thornally was the other. But it was Austin Konnath who led the scoring effort with four.
If there is one potential problem with offensive onslaught from the Kadets, it's that goaltender Colt O'Connell did not get to see too many shots at his end of the field.
"Any time the ball is on the other side of the field, that's a good thing," O'Connell said. "It means our offense is producing and I can't really hate on that."
The last time that the Kadets and the Indians played, it was in the second round of the 4A playoffs last year. Cheyenne Mountain came away with a 11-9 win.
But that was a different Air Academy team. First-year coach John Mandico came in with the intention of completely changing the culture for the Kadets. Not only does he want his players to be successful on the field, but he wants them to be standup kids off the field as well.
They are to behave in a certain manner, which includes no profanity anywhere on the field.
"I think we can conduct ourselves where people will think that we are a classy bunch of guys," he said.
On the field, he knows all about the importance of peaking at the right time and he feels that his team is on the upswing as they head into a game that will have a huge impact on the remainder of their season.
"It's more about focusing and playing your game," he said. "And if you look if the trend line, we're peaking right now."
They need to stay on that trend if they want to take down Cheyenne Mountain. The Indians have only lost one 4A game this year, and it was to No. 1-ranked Dawson School.
If the Kadet team that beat Pueblo West shows up on Wednesday, fans will be in for a treat when the whistle blows for that game.