Regan Cadieux has scored a lot of goals in the past year, but she can easily identify one of her favorites.
The Regis Jesuit senior forward points to a goal she scored in the Raiders’ 3-0 win over Denver East Sept. 9 in which she breezed through the defense and finished.
That goal was one of 10 she has this season through nine games, which is a big reason Regis Jesuit is off to a 7-1-1 start and appears like a state title contender.
“Breakaways are my favorite, where I get to dribble through a lot of people and use all my skills to score a goal,” Cadieux said.
While the breakaway score definitely stood out, putting a finger on her favorite goal was somewhat difficult for Cadieux given that she’s scored 27 of them in the past year-plus.
She registered hat tricks in the last five games of the 2016 regular season to finish with a state-best 17 goals and opened the new season with two against defending state champion Palmer Ridge in an overtime loss.
Stick skills, speed, better situational decision making and the innate ability to find a sweet spot in front of the goal where she can finish has made Cadieux an especially effective weapon. With 10 goals and 25 points, she ranks second to Palmer Ridge’s Jordyn Isner (14 and 35) in both categories.
Regis Jesuit coach Spencer Wagner has guided the program in all seven of its seasons and hasn’t had an offensive force like Cadieux, who has at least a point or assist in all nine games this season.
“I think Regan’s a superstar in that she led the state in goals last year and that’s never happened for our school,” Wagner said. “Our team has great confidence that if they just get her the ball, she’s going to finish.”
Getting the ball forward has been a challenge in recent years for the program, which used to be very defensive-minded.
With players such as all-state goalie Claire Stemper, the Raiders used to rely on winning a lot of low-scoring games in the past.
That’s changed in the last two seasons, as the Raiders have improved from back to front and all of that has benefited Cadieux, who readily recognizes how good she has it.
“I would never be able to score all these goals without my teammates supporting me,” she said. “They get me the ball in the right places. They are really the MVPs and they are the ones who make it happen.”
Wagner has been quite pleased with his team’s development, especially when it comes to passing.
The Raiders’ defense has been able to move the ball forward quickly at times and it usually ends up on the stick of Cadieux, who forces defenses to choose to stop her or give space to her teammates.
“If Regan’s got the ball, you can either stop her from scoring and she can give it up to another player or you can let her do her thing, and she’s going to do her thing,” Wagner said.
Regis Jesuit’s other players have taken advantage of the attention paid to Cadieux.
Nine other Raiders have scored, including fellow senior Bridget Kennedy, who is also among the state leaders with eight goals. Regis Jesuit has 30 goals scored already and is on pace to well exceed the program benchmark of 43 from last season.
The scoring has translated to winning and the Raiders look firmly cemented in the top four state contenders along with Palmer Ridge, Kent Denver and Colorado Academy.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
FIELD HOCKEY LEADERS (THROUGH GAMES OF SEPT. 27)
Points: Jordyn Isner (Palmer Ridge) 35; REGAN CADIEUX (REGIS JESUIT) 25; Logan Derosia (Mountain Vista) 21; Hannah Tellez (Palmer Ridge) 19; BRIDGET KENNEDY (REGIS JESUIT) 18
Goals: Jordyn Isner (Palmer Ridge) 14; REGAN CADIEUX (REGIS JESUIT) 10; Logan Derosia (Mountain Vista) 10; BRIDGET KENNEDY (REGIS JESUIT) 8; Liz Phillips (Palmer Ridge) 8
Assists: Emma Domich (Kent Denver) 7; Jordyn Isner (Palmer Ridge) 7; Emma Kerr (Palmer Ridge) 6; Hannah Tellez (Palmer Ridge) 5; REGAN CADIEUX (REGIS JESUIT) 5