LONGMONT — Silver Creek girls soccer coach Pat Monacelli made a point this season of beefing up the Raptors' early non-conference schedule.
As is typically the case, Monacelli hopes the increased level of competition early will hone his club for a successful run through the Northern League slate and, if everything falls into place, into the postseason.
Yet the drawback of such an arrangement is the possibility of running into an elite squad performing at top form. Which is precisely what happened to the Raptors on Thursday.
Unable to bounce back from a stunning early salvo from visiting Evergreen, Silver Creek suffered a 6-0 loss to drop to 1-2 on the young season. Evergreen, a state quarterfinalist in 2014 that is ranked sixth in Class 4A in the initial CHSAANow.com poll, has won its first two games by a combined 9-0.
"We made a concentrated effort this year to up the intensity of our non-conference schedule, and really put some teams on there that were going to give us trouble," Monacelli said. "We did that because we really wanted to be as prepared as we possibly can be when we get into conference play. When you play against a quality team like (Evergreen) and you don't have a good day, it really exposes what you need to work on."
Evergreen scored three goals within the first 21 minutes of the match, including the first two in a span of 3 minutes, 40 seconds in the early going. The early deficit proved too much for Silver Creek to overcome, particularly with the club still looking to find go-to scorers on the offensive end.
While the Raptors return nine starters from a squad that reached the second round of the 4A state tournament a year ago, Silver Creek still is adjusting to life without Jenna Schemmel. The senior scored a team-leading 16 goals last year but is sidelined this season after enduring knee surgery last fall to repair torn knee ligaments.
Through three games the Raptors have recorded just one goal — a Maya Perrin rebound tally in the waning moments Tuesday that gave Silver Creek its first win of the season against Horizon.
"We definitely have the players that are capable of doing that. It's a matter of finding a rhythm," Monacelli said. "We had that same rhythm for three years, because (Schemmel) was a starter as a freshman. We've got to find that rhythm with another player, whether that's one player or a couple players at that position. I thougth that rhythm was better in the Horizon game. We just didn't find that rhythm today."
Evergreen scored three goals in each half, receiving two goals and an assist from Zoe Peterson and two goals from fellow junior Emma Theisen. Per Monacelli's design, the early slate doesn't get any easier for the Raptors, who host 4A No. 3 Lewis-Palmer on Saturday.
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Evergreen 6, Silver Creek 0
At Silver Creek HSEvergreen 3 3 — 6
Silver Creek 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Evergreen: Emma Theisen, 4th minute; Zoe Peterson, 7th minute; Cassidy Formanek (Peterson), 22nd minute; Peterson, 50th minute; Theisen, 55th minute; Weiner, 84th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Evergreen: Seracuse (40-0-0); Ulfig (40-0-2); Silver Creek: Benedict (60-5-3); Noble (20-1-2).