The fourth-ranked Niwot boys soccer team vaulted themselves into Northern League title contention with a hard-fought 2-1 overtime win over previously undefeated and second-ranked Silver Creek. Junior forward Manuel Tapia scored the match winner for the Cougars.
"We're just thinking about the playoffs right now," said Niwot head coach Stephen Dimit. "We know that we're in, and so we talked about this game being preparation. Silver Creek is a great team to see at this point in the year, and hopefully we get to see them again."
The two teams were evenly matched, and it made for a close contest throughout. Niwot would open the scoring in the sixth minute. Senior Cougars forward Jason Rodriguez brought down a long ball at the far side of the box, rounded a defender, and beat Silver Creek goalkeeper Brandon Coder at the near post for the early 1-0 lead.
The Raptors tied the match in the 32nd minute, as sophomore midfielder Dylan Weiss took a shot from the top of the box and beat Niwot goalkeeper Mario Munoz to the upper left corner.
After that, the two teams traded chances but neither was able to find a winner until seven minutes into overtime. Tapia was able to chase down a long ball and touch it past an oncoming Coder, and the ball slowly rolled over the goal line for the win.
"I just worked as hard as I can. I know we all wanted to be off the field and I know we deserved the win. I just was able to poke it and it went through the keeper's legs," said Tapia.
"It was probably the ugliest goal we've scored all year," added Dimit.
Defensively, the Cougars were able to hold the Raptors' high-scoring duo of Connor Peskin and Trey Gerlach in check.
"I thought that we really locked them down and we got better and better. We closed down their opportunities as the game went on. Nick Grant and Abel Marrufo stepped it up big. After being a little shaky early, they locked the game down. They were awesome tonight," Dimit said.
The playoffs are on the horizon, but there are a few regular season games left for both teams. Next up, Niwot will travel to Thompson Valley and Silver Creek will host Northridge, both on Thursday.
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Niwot 2, Silver Creek 1 (OT)
At Erie H.S.Silver Creek (10-1-2)100—1Niwot (10-1-1)101—2
Goals (assists) —Niwot Rodriguez 6th minute, Tapia 87th minute; Silver Creek Weiss 32nd minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Niwot Munoz 87-1-4; Silver Creek Coder 87-2-9.