LONGMONT — When it comes to the Silver Creek girls soccer team, seniors are a rare breed, an endangered species.
For the 2013 Raptors, Kailee Cox flies alone as far as 12th-graders go.
But while Cox is just one of 17 Silver Creek varsity players, she performs a very large role on a very young team.
In Friday’s non-league road game against rival Skyline, Cox scored the go-ahead goal and anchored a stingy defense as the Raptors shut out the Falcons 2-0.
“Being the only senior, I’m trying to step up and be a role model for all of them,” said Cox, a team captain. “It’s exciting because I’ve always been — I wouldn’t say second fiddle — but kind of below the other girls because there were so many seniors last year (nine). So I’m excited to finally step up to that role and be the leader for everybody.”
Silver Creek’s varsity roster includes five freshmen, eight sophomores, three juniors and one senior. And on Friday, freshman goalkeeper Zoe Benedict moved up to the big squad.
“It’s a little bit of an uphill battle because they’re young, so they have a bit of a chip on their shoulder,” coach Pat Monacelli said. “I think that pushes them a little bit.
“This team is going to be competitive all the way down. They’re young, but I think they’ve got a lot of heart and spirit. And I really feel good about the attacking possibilities with this group of girls.”
On Friday, the Raptors (1-1) built on a foundation their predecessors laid in this series. This year marked at least the fifth consecutive Silver Creek victory over Skyline, and during that stretch the Raptors have allowed only one Falcon goal.
This time around, Skyline managed just one shot on goal, although an attempt by senior Hannah Truesdale hit the post in the second half.
“Always with a cross-town rivalry you never know how the game is going to turn out,” Cox said. “Being a young team, I’m just really proud of us coming out and taking care of business.”
The Raptors set the tone early for a game that was spent largely in the Silver Creek offensive zone. On an early attack, a Skyline defender was called for a handball in the penalty box, and Cox subsequently scored on the penalty kick less than four minutes into the contest.
It was just Cox’s second goal as a varsity high school player, and her first in three years. Cox was switched from forward/midfield to defense earlier in her career, though she’s still a forward for her club team.
“It’s nice when (Monacelli) lets me take set plays and stuff because I don’t get a lot of chances, especially at center back,” she said. “It’s been a while. It definitely feels good.”
Sophomore Jenna Schemmel added an insurance goal for Silver Creek in the 31st minute when she weaved through defenders and delivered a score from 10 yards out.
Skyline goalkeeper Rebecca Kissinger stopped the Raptors’ other 10 shots on goal.
Meanwhile, SHS couldn’t generate much of an attack, though the second half was better than the first. Like Silver Creek, the Falcons are a young team, with just three seniors.
“We’re trying to find our chemistry and get to know each other better,” first-year Skyline girls coach Luis Chavez said. “Our biggest weakness right now is our offensive power. I have a lot of real good athletes, but I’m trying to convert them into soccer players.”
Skyline (1-2-1) has managed just one goal in four games this season.
The Falcons will play another rival, Longmont, on the road on Wednesday night. Silver Creek will host Adams City on Monday.
Silver Creek 2, Skyline 0
At Skyline H.S.
Silver Creek (1-1-0) 2 0 — 2
Skyline (1-2-1) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Silver Creek: Kailee Cox (unassisted), fourth minute; Silver Creek: Jenna Schemmel (unassisted), 31st minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Silver Creek: Zoe Benedict (80-0-1); Skyline: Rebecca Kissinger (80-2-10).