NIWOT — Winners of just one of its past four soccer games entering Saturday, Niwot desperately needed a matchup in which the Cougars could work on some formations without having to test them at the cost of another defeat.
A 6-0 win against Brighton on the NHS soccer pitch won't do much to help their RPI, but the Cougars and head coach Stephen Dimit were content with getting a great start and possibly finding that touch that had them at 5-1 beginning the 2016 slate.
Niwot (7-4) scored twice in the first 3 minutes of play against the Bulldogs (0-9) and erased the sourness of Thursday's Northern League loss to current frontrunner Greeley Central.
"We had some things to work on today and I think we were able to get to all of them after a brutal result Thursday," said Dimit, whose team has four tough games left on the docket including Centaurus, Longmont and Silver Creek. "We've come back from a couple of losses real well and that shows how we are maturing as a team."
Despite four ticks in the loss column, the Niwot defense has been sound allowing just 11 goals all year. While that stingy play in the midfield and back continued, it was the offensive group that broke out in a big way Saturday.
The first half of Saturday's game proved to be their most successful half of the season with a five-goal frenzy, and it started immediately as Abel Marrufo capitalized on a pass from Tyler Crall not even 120 seconds into the contest.
The Cougars again gained possession and forged a scoring opportunity less than a minute later, and this time Marrufo dished to Josh Frank for a 2-0 lead.
Marrufo scored again, Brian Oates had two goals and Davin Bala had two assists for Niwot. Alex Arnold arrived to the game late after taking the ACT in the morning, and he was able to pot a goal late, too.
"Losses happen, but today we bounced back and had a really good result and played with high intensity," said senior Jesus Rodriguez. "Our subs came in and had a great game, and we scored in the first two minutes and the last two minutes. We have a lot of ways to score and create a lot of chances."
"It was important to us to start fast in this one, just because in the past couple games we've had our struggles," junior Cam Lee said. "We've put that reputation of having a bunch of seniors graduated last year behind us and we're trying to grow into our own identity. I think it's a work in progress but we're moving in the right direction."
Though Dimit designated Greeley Central as a legitimate contender for the Northern title at 3-0, the league still is rather wide open. Niwot is 1-2 while Centaurus, Silver Creek and Northridge all sit at 2-1.
Niwot will have nearly a full week before its next game, Friday at Centaurus.
"They played tough today, and that's going to be good moving forward," Dimit said. "We have some time to get some practices in before we get back to competing."
Niwot 6, Brighton 0
At Niwot HSBrighton (0-9) 0 0 — 0
Niwot (7-4) 5 1 — 6
Goals (assists) — Niwot: Abel Marrufo (Tyler Crall), 2nd minute; Niwot: Josh Frank (Marrufo), 3rd; Niwot: Marrufo (Andres Montealegre), 15th; Niwot: Brian Oates (Penalty kick), 25th; Niwot: Oates (Davin Bala); 30th; Niwot: Alex Arnold (Bala), 75th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Niwot: Mario Munoz (65-0-4), Stian Cattell-Ravdal (15-0-2).