AURORA | If the Centennial League boys soccer season is anything like Thursday’s opener between Eaglecrest and Smoky Hill, it’s likely to be pretty wild.
Tyler Glenn cleaned up a rebound with just 3 minutes, 39 seconds left in regulation and the Buffaloes held on for a 2-1 victory over the Raptors in a game between evenly-match teams at Legacy Stadium.
Daniel Beccera also scored for Smoky Hill, which also got six big saves from goalkeeper Grayson Heath as it won its fifth straight game and improved to 7-1-1 on the season.
Eaglecrest — which fell to 6-2 overall — lone goal came on a header from Michael Prichard on the end of an Andrew Martinez service, which temporarily tied the game in the second half.
Both teams were dangerous in the first half, but neither team got on the scoreboard. Heath was a big part of that, controlling the air on set pieces and cutting off services.
Smoky Hill finally got on the scoreboard in the 56h minute, when Kevin Del Mazo drove a free kick chance from just outside the box across the goal and found the foot of Becerra, whose volley crossed up Eaglecrest goalkeeper Blend Avdili and nestled in the net inside the far post.
The lead held for 12 minutes until an almost identical play for Eaglecrest, when Martinez lobbed a free kick in front of the goal and Prichard rose above a crowd to head it home.
Last season’s meeting between the teams resulted in a 1-1 tie and it looked like this one might end the same way until the 76th minute, when another free kick chance by Del Mazo was the precursor to Glenn’s winning goal.
Del Mazo’s long shot was punched over the crossbar by Avdili, giving the Buffs a corner kick, which was initially cleared. Glenn ran onto the loose ball about 15 yards out and buried a crisp shot for the lead.
With the victory, Smoky Hill already matched the number of Centennial League wins it had all of last season, when it went 1-5-1 in the conference.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555
SMOKY HILL 2, EAGLECREST 1
Score by halves:
Eaglecrest 0 1 — 1
Smoky Hill 0 2 — 2
Smoky Hill — Daniel Beccera (Kevin Del Mazo), 56th minute
Eaglecrest — Michael Prichard (Andrew Martinez), 67th minute
Smoky Hill — Tyler Glenn, 76th minute