COLORADO SPRINGS — It just felt like the game was coming to Colorado Academy. That was the case as Nick Maffei scored an early easy goal. He had no idea that he would need another goal, a golden goal, to help the Mustangs come away with the gold.
Maffei scored again in the second overtime to give his team a 2-1 win over Frontier Academy and the Class 3A boys soccer state championship.
It's the first championship for the Mustangs (13-0 overall) since they beat TCA 4-2 back in 2013. And now the seven-year itch has been scratched.
"It's hard to put into words how much this means," coach Gabe Bernstein said. "Way more than for myself but for the school and the program. From how hard these guys worked to how hard my coaching staff worked, it is truly one of the most special moments I've had in coaching."
Colorado Academy seized momentum early as Maffei got behind the Frontier Academy defense and chipped the ball just by Wolverines keeper Tanner Madden. He positioned himself for a clean shot to give his team the early edge that they held through halftime.
"There was that feeling that the game was coming to us in the first half," Maffei said. "We had a lot of opportunities and we didn't put all of them away. Then the game went on and we got a little more tired.
And the Wolverines (10-4) took advantage of the fatigue. Madden redeemed himself by booting the ball downfield where Seth Sheppard played it around the defense before drawing Charlie Westfall out of the net and burying his shot into a wide open net.
"As soon as he hit it, I knew we were in trouble," Colorado Academy keeper Charlie Westfall said. "I was confident that my center-back would get there, but it was just one mistake and it wasn't a big deal."
Everyone went right back to square one with each team pressing to try and break the tie before time ran out.
But neither team found a way to put an equalizer into the net before regulation and the game had to be settled in extra time. The Mustangs had a few early opportunities but found their shots missing either wide or high.
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The first 15-minute overtime period went without a goal and the game felt destined for a shootout. But Maffei didn't want to leave it to chance. He got his golden goal, sending the Colorado Academy crowd into a frenzy.
"It was a great feeling," Maffei said. "I had a lot of opportunities tonight so to put that one away felt nice."
And among the now five state championships that Colorado Academy has won, this had to be among the most exciting way to bring a trophy home.
"Golden goals make it really exciting for the fans," Bernstein said. "It's not really exciting for the coaches. It's really nerve racking, but again I'm just excited for our guys."