11/08/12 — No. 4-ranked Stallions gallop past Gators in soccer playoffs

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No. 4-ranked Stallions gallop past Gators in soccer playoffs

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 8, 2012 1:53 PM

JACKSONVILLE -- Fueled by a season-ending loss to Southwest Onslow on its home pitch a year ago, Spring Creek hoped to return the favor Wednesday evening.

The Stallions were just too good ... again.

Senior midfielder Austin Tausch notched two goals and assisted on a third goal in a 3-0 victory over the Gators during third-round action of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A boys' soccer playoffs on the Stallions' rain-soaked turf.

Southwest Onslow (11-2-2 overall) continues play Saturday afternoon at Wallace-Rose Hill.

"They're a good team, solid," first-year Spring Creek head coach Linda Salter. "Number nine (Tausch) was obviously out there running the show for them. He's able to see the field so well and distribute the ball. No matter where he was on the field, you could hear the communication he had, which obviously was a big thing for them in the win.

"It was a hard fight. We just didn't have enough tonight."

Each team stayed within its respective offensive system during the first 15 minutes. Southwest goalie Nick Matics smothered a pair of point-blank shots on Spring Creek corner kick attempts.

The Stallions, meanwhile, had shots roll agonizing wide of either post and two deflect off the crossbar back into the field of play.

"We tried to work things outside, just didn't have the right touch," Salter said. "We had some good shots, probably not as good as we needed to be as far as getting it in the net."

Southwest, ranked No. 4 in the latest N.C. Soccer Coaches Association poll, finally broke the scoreless tie with 12-plus minutes left in the opening half. Tausch zipped behind the Gators' last defender and drew a hard foul inside the penalty area.

Tausch converted the penalty kick to make it 1-0.

"Unfortunate on the penalty, hate to see the first goal go in like that," Salter said.

The Stallions struck again two minutes later. Uncovered on a throw-in, senior midfielder Markkel Bannerman headed in a cross from Tausch that slipped just inside the near post.

"We left him wide open," Salter said.

Spring Creek (13-3-3) continued to work the ball onto Southwest's side of the field, but often surrendered possession before it could get inside the 18-yard box.

Tausch's second goal, a 35-yard shot, gave the Stallions a comfortable 3-0 advantage just five minutes into the second half. Southwest claimed a 22-14 edge in shots, while Spring Creek owned a slight 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.

The Stallions recorded their seventh shutout of the season and have yielded just three goals in the last 720 minutes of play.

"We came into the field with the idea (of last year's loss) in our head," Spring Creek co-captain Otto Binar. "They kept playing physically and got into our heads. We have come back during a couple of games during the season, but we weren't talking ... not enough communication among the team and that broke us down, basically.

"Our coaches tell us we win as a team and we lose as a team, and unfortunately we lost tonight."