LONGMONT — Another shutout in regulation wasn’t enough to extend Silver Creek’s winning streak Monday night.
On a short-sleeve kind of evening, featuring a staredown between the top teams in the 5A/4A Northern Colorado Athletic Conference, the Raptors finally cracked as Windsor junior Carty Kingsbury scored in double overtime to lift the Wizards to victory, 1-0.
Astoundingly, Silver Creek keeper Kara Nelson had gone 416 minutes in net before allowing her first goal of the season.
In breaking it, Kingsbury, who has been committed to Texas Tech since she was a freshman, struck a chance into the far corner of the net and just out of Nelson’s reach in the 96th minute. It took pinpoint placement to finally solve the gifted keeper.
“I’d call her No. 1 right now if I had to pick the best keeper in the league,” Silver Creek coach Rob Johnson said of Nelson. “She communicates and is just solid on the field.”
The result finally put some space between the NCAC soccer powers.
Coming in, the Raptors (5-1 overall, 5-1 NCAC) — who still weren’t ranked in the latest CHSAANow.com Class 5A coaches poll despite their domineering start — had allowed on average fewer than three shots on net through their first five games, outscoring teams 27-0.
The Wizards (6-0, 6-0), ranked third in 4A, have now outscored teams 33-0.
“I was really trying to get zero goals against this season,” Nelson sighed. “It just sucks to lose in double overtime.”
At the back of a sturdy defensive effort, Nelson made crucial saves throughout the night and kept Silver Creek a break away from a sixth straight win.
Windsor had pushed deep into the Raptors zone a number of times, but struggled to find many clean looks. And when it did, Nelson was there.
In the opening half, the Wizards had one chance on a free kick that hit the crossbar before Nelson cleared it away. On another late in the second, the keeper out-jumped Windsor players on a perfectly-placed corner and pulled down the save inches from crossing the goal line.
Then in the second overtime, the Wizards saw chances go high and wide, and had another get scooped up by Nelson, before the winner.
On it, the Raptors weren’t able to clear out a Windsor corner kick as Kingsbury settled with the ball on the left side of the box and found a rare opening to the right.
“From the goalkeeper to the center backs, we are just really organized (this season),” Johnson said. “They’ve known each other forever and they do a great job. They talk. We were just unlucky on that corner kick. We just got to clear a little better.”
Silver Creek, just like the boys’ soccer team in Season C of the CHSAA schedule, will have an uphill climb trying to reach the postseason despite its stellar open to the year.
In its first season in 5A, the Raptors will need to grab one of the classification’s four at-large bids to qualify for the 16-team state bracket. While most teams in the reworked soccer seasons can claim an automatic bid with a high finish inside their league, the Raptors are unable to in the NCAC since the league doesn’t have enough 5A teams to abide under CHSAA’s current postseason requirements.
Silver Creek and Windsor are scheduled to play the seventh of their respective 10-game slates Wednesday. The Raptors will travel to face the other 5A team inside the league, Skyline. The Wizards host Mead.