10/28/10 — Spring Creek collects third straight title

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Spring Creek collects third straight title

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 28, 2010 3:54 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Spring Creek is starting to convert shots into goals.

Antonio Avila punched in two goals and the Gators clinched their third consecutive Carolina 1-A Conference boys' soccer title with a 4-0 victory over Ayden-Grifton.

Spring Creek controlled the possession and held a 12-2 advantage in shots on goal in the first half.

Oscar Osorio put the Gators in front off Avila's cross in the 20th minute. Avila just missed extending the lead to 2-0 as his long shot in the 27th minute sailed just over the crossbar.

Avila beat Chargers' keeper Joe Lopez off an assist from Dante Ortiz in the 35th minute.

"We're putting it together," said Spring Creek head coach Paul Estrada. "It's like we're able to mesh a little bit. I wanted to peak at this time. We work on possessing but I want some possession with an attacking premise to it. I think we're going into the playoffs strong."

The Gators continued to pressure Ayden-Grifton's defense throughout the second half. Omar Zavela's shot on a rebound off Ortiz's long free kick in the 56th minute just missed the net. Spring Creek earned four corner kicks during the final 40 minutes and finished with seven overall.

Jimmy Victoriano scored on a rebound inside the 18-yard box off a corner kick in the 60th minute to increase the lead to 3-0. Avila capped the scoring in the 73rd minute.

Estrada took advantage of the Gators' depth and substituted liberally, which helped fuel Spring Creek's attacking style. The Gators have scored 12 goals in their last two games.

"We're definitely a lot deeper than we were last year," said Estrada. "We may not have as many superstars. I think I can go to my bench a lot more than I could last year."

Spring Creek finished with a 25-5 edge in shots on goal. The two teams were whistled for a combined 12 offsides calls. The Chargers' Michael Baker hit the crossbar on a penalty kick in stoppage time.

The Gators (8-3-3 overall, 6-0-2 CC) begin play in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A state playoffs next Wednesday. Spring Creek reached the eastern regional finals a year ago where it lost 4-0 at Dixon.

"It's going to boil down to if we want it," said Estrada. "Last year, they were super hungry, so it wasn't that much of a stretch for me to coach them. This year, I think I'm going to have to take more of a role of coaching a win rather than letting them flat out beat a team.

"All in all, I think this is a stronger team and I think we have a better chance than we did last year."