Every kid growing up pretends to have the game-winning shot at their fingertips - or feet. That dream became a reality for Michael Steffy, and he didn't waste it.
Steffy came up huge for the fourth-seeded Pine Creek boys' soccer team in the first round of the 5A state playoffs, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Lakewood.
Pine Creek coach Ben Corley said the first goal was "one of the nicest all season." The game-winner came with seven seconds remaining, and required a total team effort.
The ball was in the Eagles' defensive side of the field with 30 seconds left, and several passes up the field led to the decisive moment, which found Steffy in the right place at the right time.
"It was exciting for sure; the guys had played with quality most of the game, but sometimes in soccer you don't score when you get a chance," Corley said. "There were about five guys involved in that build-up. Michael had a great touch on it and didn't try to do too much."
The senior saved the day, helping his team avoid overtime and another possible early exit. Pine Creek had been bounced from the playoffs in the first round the past three seasons.
"We have a really high-quality team this season and we've said this is our year," Steffy said. "The second half was pretty rough, and scoring that goal was such a relief. I was happier that we won, than that I scored the goal."
Corley said his senior co-captain has made tremendous strides in the last year, and that seeing him succeed at a huge moment was gratifying.
"Michael is the epitome of a team player; he wasn't a starter last year and played sporadically, but he's probably put in more hard work in the offseason than anyone else," Corley said.
Steffy says he didn't want to waste his last season of high school soccer, and knew that he could step up and contribute if he worked hard in the offseason.
"I decided that I wanted to make a difference my senior year," he said.
The Eagles host Chatfield on Wednesday with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line.
JUSTIN SHAW, THE GAZETTE