11/03/10 — Raleigh Charter ousts Spring Creek, 2-0

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Raleigh Charter ousts Spring Creek, 2-0

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 3, 2010 1:47 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- There will be no storybook run through the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A boys' soccer playoffs this season for Spring Creek.

One year removed from a trip to the 1-A eastern regional championship game, the Gators fell to Raleigh Charter 2-0 during opening-round play Tuesday evening at "The Swamp."

The Phoenix controlled the game from the opening minute when John Ligtenberg collected a crossing pass from Ayo Oritsejafor and slid in between Gator defenders and into the 18-yard box. Ligtenberg hammered a bending shot that found the mark and gave the visitors the lead just 30 seconds into the first half.

"It was one of those things where we came out flat and got caught standing around in the first minute," said Spring Creek head coach Paul Estrada. "You can not do that against anybody, but especially not against a team as good as Raleigh Charter."

Despite the early deficit, the Gators (8-4-3 overall) had a pair of solid chances to tie the contest in the first half.

In the fifth minute, Antonio Avila broke loose and gathered a pass from Dante Ortiz in the middle of the field. Avila raced toward the Phoenix net and fired a shot that was saved by the Raleigh Charter keeper. In the 24th minute, Ortiz found himself with an open look at the net, but watched as the ball sailed inches wide of the left post.

Raleigh Charter (12-7-1) took advantage of an opening on the counter-attack in the 42nd minute when Forest Knight collected a pass from Kyle Denny and buried the ball in the back of the Gators' net.

"We had to do everything we could to push guys forward and get back in the ballgame," said Estrada. "They didn't have a lot of counter opportunities, but the ones they did have they got good shots."

The Gators finished the game with a 9-8 advantage in shots on goal. Spring Creek keeper Victor Ortiz finished with four saves.

"I would much rather play a team like Raleigh Charter in the third or fourth round," said Estrada. "The bracket put us together in the first round and we did not play our best game."

Spring Creek will return all but one starter next season as it looks to claim a fourth consecutive Carolina 1-A Conference championship.