SW Onslow soccer eliminates Spring Creek
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 10, 2011 1:48 PM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- Misty-eyed and choking back tears, the Spring Creek boys' soccer team huddled one last time near the midfield circle.
Each player raised a single arm above his head, they shouted "family" in unison and walked toward the bench as fans exalted their praises for another great season in "The Swamp."
But this one ended too soon.
Freshman forward Jamaal Respus notched a pair of goals and No. 1-ranked Southwest Onslow rolled to a 5-0 shutout in third-round action of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A playoffs. The Stallions (16-1-1 overall) put their 13-match win streak on the line Saturday against Tri-County champion Hobbton in the east semifinals.
"I told the guys we were the underdogs and we had the ability to play with them," said Spring Creek assistant coach Dante Ortiz. "We got distracted and made mistakes. The defense tried, but I think the key may have been the conditioning ... playing the whole 80 minutes. We have some good players, but we just couldn't keep up with them.
"The guys gave it all (they had)."
Southwest displayed its speed on the opening kickoff and immediately fired a shot on goal. Spring Creek (10-4-2) struggled to defend long balls that came off free kicks and goal kicks, and couldn't generate a consistent attack on its side of the field.
Respus ran onto a long ball, split two Gator defenders and logged the game-winning goal in the 11th minute. The same strategy led to an open-net goal by Jordan Cordero, his 23rd of the season, and a thru ball from Cordero to Austin Tausch in the 37th minute.
Respus converted a questionable penalty kick in the 52nd minute and reserve Markkel Bannerman capped the Stallions' scoring around the 79th the minute.
"The guys were nervous, didn't expect that kind of game," said Ortiz. "They had two really fast guys on offense and we tried to play the line, but we couldn't keep up with them, not even our star defensive player Edgar (Rangel).
"It was two-on-one basically."
The Gators entered the game 9-0-2 in its last 11 outings and recorded 10 shots on the night. SWO keepers Nicholas Matics and Cole Jones combined for six saves between the pipes, and preserved the Stallions' fourth straight shutout and 10th overall this season.
Seven Spring Creek seniors played their final game -- Rangel, Gildardo Victorino, keeper Mauricio Bautista (four saves), Antonio Avila, Eric Fuentes, Omar Zavela and Sal Carreno.
"That team out-played us tonight," said Gators head coach Mandy Ramfjord. "I knew the guys could do well, they had the heart and the desire. They came out every practice and work hard.
"Their goal was to get to the state (final), but they came up just short this year."
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