MANITOU SPRINGS — With so many chances on each side, it was beginning to feel like whoever converted the first time would come away with a win.
Mira Houck and Jefferson Academy confirmed that theory. After Manitou keeper Alyssa Holladay denied so many chances for the Jags, Houck was in the right position to convert on a corner kick. That one goal would hold up and Jefferson Academy grabbed a 1-0 in a matchup over two of Class 3A’s top five ranked teams.
“We knew that they were pretty well prepared for us,” Jaguars coach Denise Sutton said.
The No. 2 Jags and the No. 5 Mustangs played each other about this point in the season last year. Jefferson Academy got the 2-0 win, but the Mustangs failed to get a shot off all game.
The Jags (2-0-1 overall) were hoping to repeat that feat again this year, but a more veteran Manitou team proved to be a little tougher to contain. Senior Brooklyn Mack had a couple of looks in the second half and a throw-in from the sideline late in the game put the ball on Olivia McKenna’s foot right in front of the net.
But Manitou (3-1) just couldn’t convert on any of those chances. The same story was true on the other side of the field. Jefferson Academy had chance after chance to break the scoreless tie but none came to fruition.
The best chance came in the second half when Rachel Schlagel was awarded a penalty kick. She aimed high and Holladay deflected the ball up and into the crossbar to keep Manitou in it.
“The goalie was fantastic,” Sutton said. “Wow, she did a great job.”
The tie was finally broken in the 58th minute as Schlagel launched a corner kick toward the Manitou net and Houck got the ball just over Holladay’s head, putting the Jags on the board.
“It was such a good ball from Rachel,” Houck said. “We were all so hyped. We always get in a little huddle before hand and figure out who’s going where and we knew we were going to get that one.”
The Mustangs best chance came on a free kick opportunity right in from of the Jefferson Academy goal box. Junior Caileen Sienknecht took aim at the back-right corner and the ball just off the crossbar.
McKenna’s chance in front of the net was Manitou’s last opportunity to convert, but they came away empty-handed. This is just the second regular season loss for the Mustangs in the last two years. Both came at the hands of Jefferson Academy.
“They’re obviously a very talented team,” Manitou coach Ben Mack said. “They controlled the pace for a lot of the first half and we were just trying to frustrate them and create a chance. We thought one (goal) would do it.”
Each team has one game remaining before heading into spring break. The Mustangs will host Buena Vista and Jefferson Academy travels to The Academy, the defending 3A state champion.