COMMERCE CITY -- Pine Creek Senior Jayvier Morales scored his first goal of the season during the second overtime in the state title game.
“I was just crossing it in to whoever was in the box, and the keeper tipped it in,” Morales said. “It was complete luck, but I’ll take it.”
In Pine Creek’s first state championship appearance, the Eagles earned title honors after outlasting No. 1 Rock Canyon 1-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday.
Stellar defense from both teams characterized the first half of play. However, Rock Canyon did get more chances offensively. At the beginning of the game, Rock Canyon had two separate free kicks from either corner of the 18 yard box. The teams went battle back-and-forth in the midfield, but Rock Canyon had far greater offensive possession.
Senior Pine Creek keeper David Meyer played an enormous role in keeping the game scoreless.
“Our team can play with a lot of confidence when we’re not giving up many goals,” coach Ben Corley said. “Five total goals (Meyer let in) for the whole season -- that’s pretty darn good.”
Meyer had seven saves for Pine Creek in the championship game.
“(Meyer) means the world to us,” Morales said. “He’s kept us in games so many times. We wouldn't have made it here without him. He’s the best keeper in Pine Creek’s history.”
The second half of the game was much of the same -- a defensive gridlock. Both teams couldn’t capitalize on scoring chances. It took two overtimes until a goal found the back of the net.
“These guys (Pine Creek) have shown the maturity to battle through it until the goal comes,” Corey said. “It’s a tough to lose on a ball like that, but it was one of those defensive battles where something was going to give.”
Pine Creek had to win its last two games in extra minutes. In the semis, Alex Cullen punched Pine Creek’s ticket to its first championship game with a golden goal in 7:29 of overtime.
“Our team can play with a lot of confidence when we’re not giving up many goals,” Corey said. “Dave had to come up huge in the Boulder game, but tonight Zach Peterschmidt and Matt Ernst had dominant performances, tonight (Meyer) didn’t have to make as dramatic saves. He’s been that rock player back there that gives the field players confidence.”
This Pine Creek squad has grown immensely throughout the season in part to the veteran’s on the team.
“We have a lot of seniors on this team. at the beginning of the season our theme was ‘kaisen,’ (meaning) one step at a time. We talk about the little inches, and for a lot of these guys it started years ago.”