Boys Varsity Soccer·
Boys soccer: Tigers season ends too early to Centaurus
BROOMFIELD — The was a little trepidation when the Class 4A state soccer brackets came out earlier in the week.
Mother Nature didn’t do the Holy Family Tigers and their faithful followers any favors either this week in making them wait and wonder about their first round draw against Centaurus.
After all, it was just two short years ago that the Warriors were robbed in the state finals against Air Academy at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Six of those core players were sophomores, including Fernando Ruiz and Christian Nunez — arguably two of the best to lace them up in our state.
The experience factor showed on Saturday afternoon, and Ruiz and Chavez worked their magic to the tune of a 5-0 first round victory over the Tigers at Mike G. Gabriel Stadium.
“I think our age was going to play a factor at some point. It just goes to show that winning league doesn’t guarantee you anything in the playoffs,” said Holy Family coach David Martinez, whose No. 7-seeded team came in winners of 10 straight games.
“You’ve got to show up everyday and today we chose not to show up in many aspects of our game. Simple mistakes that we have to live with, but we will be back and stronger next year.”
The Tri-Valley League champion Tigers, who graduate just two seniors, finish the season 13-3. No. 26-seed Centaurus (9-6-1) will travel to Colorado Springs to face No. 10 Discovery Canyon on Tuesday in the second round.
Centaurus dictated the play from the opening whistle and weren’t shy about were the ball was going to be played to and through.
And shortly after the best opportunity of the game for the Tigers to get on the board — senior Alex Troso’s header off of Dylan McIntosh’s corner was saved by Parker Sanchez — the Warriors stepped up their game.
Centaurus went right back down to its offensive third and the creativity of Nunez and Ruiz resulted in goal No. 1. Nunez’s ball across the box from deep in the corner went through the hand of goalie Liam Burns, who couldn’t hang on, and squirted right to Ruiz on the far post, who finished with ease.
“I think maybe it got in our head a little bit and maybe we focused a little too much on their good players,” Troso said. “But they played through us with their entire team and we let it get to us after the first goal.”
It would stay 1-0 through halftime and that when the Warriors really stepped on the gas pedal. Ruiz would score again in the 42nd minute.
Then in the 48th, disaster struck. Kiernan Opp went to clear Ruiz’s centering pass in the box, only to have it deflect into the back of his own goal to make it a 3-0 game.
“We had a defense that was shutting everybody down left and right and today we let some goals in,” said Martinez, whose team had allowed just 19 goals all season. “I’ve never been a coach to focus on stats, because (being ready mentally) really is a big part of the game and sometimes you really psych yourself out.
“Today we played to those two players, when we should have played to our five stud players on our side. It’s all a learning experience and come back next year and prove that this season wasn’t a fluke.”
Nunez would score a beauty in the 54th minute and Jimmy Plampin would hammer home the final nail in the Tigers coffin in the 78th minute.
CENTAURUS 5, HOLY FAMILY 0
At Mike G. Gabriel Stadium
Centaurus (9-6-1) 1 4 — 5
Holy Family (13-3) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Fernando Ruiz (unassisted), 28′; Ruiz (unassisted), 42′; Own Goal (Kiernan Opp), 48′; Christian Nunez (unassisted), 54′; Jimmy Plampin (unassisted), 78′.