The Pusch Ridge Christian Academy boys soccer team (10-2) completed another highly successful regular season with a 6-1 win over Santa Cruz last Thursday night.
The Lions were aided all season by the leadership of two senior players and a veteran head coach.
Chad Springetti was the leader in assists, Tyler Goodwillie in goals. Coach Bob Coate, in his 11th year with Pusch Ridge, led from the bench.
After visiting Santa Cruz scored a goal in just the third minute of the game, the Lions came back a minute later on a goal by Goodwillie, which was assisted by Springetti, to tie it. This would be the first of four Lions goals as they built a 4-1 lead at halftime.
Springetti finished with two goals and two assists while Goodwillie scored three goals.
Whether playing soccer or football, Springetti can kick the ball. The senior was in the team's top three in goals last season, and he's been the field goal kicker on the Lions football squads the last few years. He's spent a lot of time on the football/soccer field at Pusch Ridge. As the Lions will be playing all of their playoff games on neutral fields in the Phoenix area, Thursday's game was Springetti's last on the field.
"Our biggest thing is this is our last home game," Springetti said. "It's kind of weird.
"This isn't the end. It's bittersweet."
Springetti has excelled in both sports but at this time is leaning toward continuing in soccer. He said he just wants to continue to play sports.
Goodwillie is another story. While he's also a senior, soccer is somewhat of a new game for Goodwillie. All his goals disguise the fact that this was his first year on the varsity team.
"Chad (Springetti) and Geoff Pooley have been helping me out," Goodwillie said. "I didn't know how to go."
Goodwillie has taken a few steps outside of his comfort zone in 2010-11. As a running back and wide receiver going into the football season, the key player volunteered to shift to the more demanding position of quarterback following the departure of all-league passer Greg Schimke.
The Lions made the playoffs on the gridiron, but it was more due to his running ability than his passing acumen. During the soccer season, Goodwillie again tried something new and is one of the reasons the Lions are the 5th-seeded team in their potential playoff bracket.
"I feel confident. We can get to the semis," said his coach.
Coate pulled double duty last year, coaching both the boys and girls soccer teams. This year, he was able to remove the second hat, and go back to being a one-team coach focusing on the boys.
"It was a relief," Coate said. "I'm happy with the results. I think that with our youthfulness, we over-accomplished.
"I'm thinking we might be able to get a 6-7 seed."
The Pusch Ridge team will play Empire on Friday at 7 p.m. at Red Mountain Park.