Mission accomplished for the Pine Creek boys’ soccer team.
Not only did the Eagles secure the program’s fourth 5A Colorado Springs Metro League title, but they can check off another team goal from the list after a 4-0 blanking of No. 3 Rampart Thursday. Pine Creek (11-4, 5-0 5A CSML) reached its goal of eight shutouts during the regular season by using a stifling defense and aggressive offensive attack to control the ball and dictate the pace of the game against the Rams (9-3-1, 2-3-0).
It was a complete team victory for the Eagles, who have won seven straight and expect to host a regional playoff game Wednesday.
“We’ve got a great defense, especially on this field,” said Pine Creek coach Ben Corley, whose Eagles outscored league opponents 17-1. “We’ve talked about playing the right kind of defense that gives you the opportunity to get shutouts. This gives our guys confidence going forward.”
Sean Cleary made it 1-0 Pine Creek just 3:42 into the game with a rocket of a shot from the 25-yard line, and that was the score after the game’s first 40 minutes. The Eagles struck again 4:03 the second half when Nick Bannister took a Ryan Jeffers pass and put it past Rampart goalie Kyle Alford for a 2-0 advantage.
That goal came just minutes after Alford made a pair of stellar diving saves on shots by Jeffers, including a penalty-kick save just 24 seconds into the half. The Eagles added another goal in the 56th minute after a shot by Alex Holten ricocheted off a Rampart player and into the net, and junior Brad MacDonald scored the game’s final goal with 10:20 on the clock.
Rampart’s offense was without leading scorer Tim Hahn (15 goals, six assists), who injured his hip in the Rams’ 4-1 win over Columbine Tuesday. Hahn watched from a wheelchair on the sidelines as his teammates tried to generate scoring chances.
But Pine Creek’s defense was just too strong.
“It was a really good game,” Pine Creek junior goalie Dave Meyer said. “Our forwards got the job done, and our backups came in and did the work, too. With the playoffs coming up, hopefully we’ll get (shutout) number nine.”
Rampart finishes its regular season Friday against James Irwin and will await news if its season will continue as an at-large selection for the 5A state tournament. Regardless, coach Tony Gonzalez-Padron is proud of his squad.
“Our guys played very well and gave all they had,” Gonzalez-Padron said of Thursday’s game. “In the second half we got a little lacking mentally, but our kids did the best they could. It’s a young team, and I’m very proud of every single one of them.”