AURORA | One goal losses have nearly scuttled the season for the Grandview boys soccer team, but the Wolves did something to correct the one-score deficit they faced Tuesday evening against Eaglecrest.
With all seven of its losses on the season coming by a single goal, coach Brian Wood’s Grandview team found itself trailing the Raptors early in the second half at Legacy Stadium, but stormed back with three straight goals to secure an important 3-1 Centennial League victory.
Freshman Raymond Jackson and juniors Erik Lundeen and Tyler Pak all found the back of the net in the final 26 minutes of regulation and the Wolves (5-7-1, 3-1-1) continued to stay in the thick of the chase for the second spot in the league standings — which has an automatic berth in the Class 5A state playoffs — with their third win in the past four games.
“Every game we’ve lost is by a goal, but the good thing about this team is that we’ve given up the first goal a lot, but we always fight back,” Wood said. “We always hang in there and keep fighting. They don’t give up and it’s been a good thing. My frustration is the mistakes leading up to being down. That’s what we’ve got to fix.”
Colin Miller put coach Greg Watts’ Eaglecrest team (4-7-1, 1-5) on the scoreboard first just over seven minutes in the second half when he drilled an indirect free kick from near midfield into the upper half of the Grandview net.
It was all Wolves from there, however, as Jackson — who hadn’t scored a goal all season — followed up a rebound that came as the result of a shot off a corner kick to even the game with 26:21 remaining.
Lundeen’s free kick attempt from the left hash curled its way into the net with 7:47 remaining to put Grandview in front and three minutes later, Jackson ran down a ball in the corner and saved it, drove toward the goal and sent a low pass through traffic to the feet of Pak, who buried it to make it 3-1. Pak, a transfer from Cherokee Trail, has scored three goals in just six games with the Wolves.
“We’ve demonstrated that we can play anybody, it’s just getting over the hump of learning how to be the better team,” Wood said. “I had to change over half my roster, so it’s been a starting over year in a lot of ways.”
Grandview takes on Overland at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Stutler Bowl and meets Cherry Creek on Oct. 22 at Stutler Bowl in a resumed game that could very well decide the playoff berth. The Wolves and Bruins played 17 scoreless minutes when the game originally started on Sept. 29 before it was suspended by weather.
Smoky Hill blanked Mullen 2-0 to keep pace with the Wolves after the teams played to a 3-3 tie last week and Cherokee Trail — a 1-0 overtime winner against Overland — also remains in the hunt, though Grandview holds the head-to-head advantage on the Cougars.
Eaglecrest, meanwhile, finishes Centennial League play with a 7:30 p.m. contest Thursday against Mullen at Stutler Bowl, then concludes the regular season with non-league games against Rampart on Saturday and Highlands Ranch on Oct. 22.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
GRANDVIEW 3, EAGLECREST 1
Score by halves:
Grandview 0 3 — 3
Eaglecrest 0 1 — 1
Grandview goals: Raymond Jackson, Erik Lundeen, Tyler Pak; Eaglecrest goal: Colin Miller.