GREENWOOD VILLAGE | The way the seeding fell, the Regis Jesuit field hockey didn’t get a chance for a redemptive state championship-game rematch with Colorado Academy.
But the fourth-seeded Raiders did get a chance to face the top-seeded Mustangs — who had beaten them in the sport’s last state title game contested in 2019 — in the semifinals and they took a full measure of revenge with a 3-1 victory Monday evening at Stutler Bowl.
Junior Lily Castiglione scored a goal in each half and senior Cate Lord added another in the second half and coach Spencer Wagner’s Regis Jesuit team dealt Colorado Academy its only loss of the season on its way to a spot in the 7 p.m. state championship game Thursday on the same field against second-seeded Cherry Creek.
“I didn’t come into this with any expectations because we hadn’t played each other, but I felt phenomenal about how our team played,” said Wagner, whose team snapped an 0-11-1 streak against Colorado in the past decade. “I especially loved the attacks we put together, they were just gorgeous. There were no sloppy goals, every single one was pristine, aggressive offense.”
Wagner noted the Raiders (8-1) had never been able to score more than one goal in a game against Colorado Academy, but it took them just a little more than a quarter to get one against the Mustangs (7-1-2) this time.
Castiglione got two shots from short range and finally heard the satisfying thud as the ball hit the back of the goal for her first postseason score.
“I just saw the ball coming into the open circle off to the left side where I play,” Castiglione said. “I look for the right corners on those shots and the first one deflected back and I shot it again and it went in. It was just very incredible to experience that.”
Near the midway point of the third quarter, Castiglione doubled the lead at the end of a penalty corner sequence initiated by Lord. In traffic, Annie Tartell found Castiglione in front of the goal and she rifled it into the net.
Lord made it a three-goal lead with 2:24 remaining in the period.
The combination of Regis Jesuit’s aggressive offense, steady play on defense and outstanding play in the goal by sophomore MaryKate Berg helped the Raiders shut down a team that came into the game averaging four-plus goals per game.
Berg made three saves until Colorado Academy finally scored with 1:45 remaining when Brooke Wachuta put in a loose ball. Regis Jesuit maintained its energy and never allowed the Mustangs to pull any closer.
“It felt really amazing; we worked so hard all season, especially in this COVID environment, so it feels really exciting to get to the finals,” Castiglione said.
Regis Jesuit turns its attention to Cherry Creek — a 2-1 winner over No. 3 Palmer Ridge in the other semifinal — for the third time this season. The Bruins won the first meeting 5-2, while the Raiders posted a 4-0 victory in the most recent matchup.
The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was moved to Thursday due to inclement weather.
Regis Jesuit is in search of its second all-time state championship, while Cherry Creek is after a third and a first since 2007.
“We’ve gone 1-1, so it’s anybody game,” Wagner said. “I’m not really thinking about our opponent. This season, we’ve focused on developing our own game and making it so hard to beat that we don’t have to worry about other teams.”
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
(4) REGIS JESUIT 3, (1) COLORADO ACADEMY 1
Score by halves:
Regis Jesuit 0 1 2 0 — 3
Colo. Academy 0 0 0 1 — 1
Regis Jesuit — Lily Castiglione, 9:53
Regis Jesuit — Castiglione (Annie Tartell), 8:15
Regis Jesuit — Cate Lord, 2:24
Colorado Academy — Brooke Wachuta, 1:45