11/05/09 — Spring Creek tops Northside soccer

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Spring Creek tops Northside soccer

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 5, 2009 1:46 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- The journey to a state championship begins with a single, but important step.

Spring Creek got off on the right foot with a 4-0 victory over Pinetown Northside during opening-round play of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A boys' soccer playoffs Wednesday evening.

The No. 3-ranked Gators (15-2-1 overall) did all of their damage in the first half as they controlled the pace of play with some strong midfield play.

"We wanted to get off to a good start and tonight we did that," said Gators head coach Paul Estrada. "I tell the guys all the time that we want to play 'sexy football' and control the possession with good passing."

Spring Creek appeared to score in the opening minute, but Antonio Avila's goal was disallowed on a late offsides call. Avila found teammate Dante Ortiz in the sixth minute, and Ortiz fired a laser into the top right corner of the net.

Ortiz scored again in the 26th minute off Arturo Sandoval's assist. Two minutes later, Ortiz completed his natural hat trick (three consecutive goals) off Avila's assist.

"Right now I feel like our forwards are as good as any in the state," said Estrada. "Those guys have good skills and they play very well together."

Ricardo Rangle completed the scoring in the 37th minute when Ortiz found him running in space for a shot between Panther defenders.

The Gators played a possession game in the second half, but couldn't find open space to shoot as Northside pushed its defense deep in its own end. Spring Creek held an 18-5 advantage in shots.

Gators keeper Angel Sanchez tallied three saves for his 14th shutout of the season.

Spring Creek entertains SW Onslow (12-6-2) in a second-round game Saturday at "The Swamp." Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

"I feel like we are better prepared this season because we are playing more disciplined than this team was last season," said Estrada. "Last season the run ended in the second round with a 1-0 loss, and we obviously hope to improve on that this year."