COLORADO SPRINGS — There was no stopping Lamario Nisbeth on Thursday. The senior netted five goals in a very impressive performance to give Class 3A No. 3 Atlas Prep boys soccer a 10-0 win in a Tri-Peaks game over St. Mary's.
The offense and counterattack were certainly on display today, with Atlas dictating the play and scoring five in each half. Nisbeth had a hat trick in the first half alone. Sophomore Luis Vegas also had a pair of goals in the second half.
“I think we play really well because we all have a lot of experience together,” said Nisbeth, who also wore the captain’s armband today. “We’ve been playing since we were young with each other, so we have a lot of chemistry. I would say our counterattacking and just our offense in general (are our biggest strengths).”
St. Mary's has a long history of success on the pitch so the final came as a surprise to the Pirates.
“I’ve coached 20 seasons at St. Mary’s; this is the first time a 10-0 loss has ever happened,” said St. Mary’s head coach Gregg Braha. “We’re not sure how to react to that. I think it puts us on notice that we’ve played some really tough 4A schools and played them tougher than we played today.”
St. Mary’s scored a goal in the 66th minute, but it was ruled offsides. A great save by the Atlas goalkeeper in the 88th minute kept the Pirates off the scoreboard.
“I think [this game] gives the boys some time to focus for the rest of the league season,” said Braha. “We need to make a move and win some games for RPI purposes to make the playoffs so I think the wake-up call comes maybe later than expected (in the) sixth game instead of the third or fourth game which we thought we had but I think that’s what they’ll take away from this. Now we’ve got to play at speed, we got to focus, and we’ll be okay.”
Atlas Prep is now 7-0-0 this season and the hope for an undefeated season still remains, but head coach Teo Jackson doesn’t want his team to be complacent.
“Complacency is definitely tough to battle but we have several goals that we go into each game for and intensity is always one," Jackson said. "We just always try to achieve those goals with intensity.”
Nisbeth agreed with his coach’s sentiments. “We go into every game thinking that the opponent, no matter how bad they are, can still beat us if we play bad. We try to keep that mentality of working hard all the time.”
The Gryphons are far from done when it comes to tough competition in league play. They host No. 2 Salida on Tuesday and the winner of that game will be sitting in teh driver's seat for the Tri-Peaks title.