FORT MILL — The 2014 Springfield Middle School boys’ soccer team recently won its 13th straight game and ended the season as regular season co-champions and overall tournament champions for the 2014 York County Middle School season.
The team lost its first game of the season to eventual co-champions Gold Hill Middle school 1-0 on a goal by Diego Williams. Springfield won its next 10 regular season games, including a 3-2 victory at home against Oakridge. The team was down 2-0 with 20 minutes to go but managed to tie the game in regulation with two goals and won the game on penalty kicks. The win was critical for staying in contention for the regular season title.
Two wins against a talented Banks Trail team would have led to a rematch with Gold Hill, but the game was rained out and couldn’t be re-scheduled. When GHMS lost to Banks Trail, that caused a tie at the top of the standings with SMS and GHMS both at 10-1. BTMS finished in third with a record of 9-3.
In the tournament, Springfield cruised past Sullivan. That set up a re-match with Banks Trail in the quarterfinals. Banks Trail took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half on an assist from Grant Stephens to Garrett Greene, who tucked it past the SMS keeper. In the second half, Springfield sent three men forward and tried to crack the goaltending of Josh Karnes, but were repeatedly denied, taking 28 shots in the game.
When it appeared Springfield’s season may be coming to an end, Santiago Verastegui found a streaking Ben Tuipulotu in the corner and Tuipulotu managed to find the back of the net with 30 seconds to play. Springfield converted on two quick goals in the overtime to end the match. Steven Halas provided the game-winner on a header assist from Tuipulotu and Martin Cruz provided an insurance goal from Zach Merrit.
This win, coupled with GHMS winning on penalty kicks against Oakridge set up the rematch in the championship game between GHMS and Springfield. The game was played in front of several hundred fans at Nation Ford High School.
Coach Marcos Jackson’s Gold Hill Bulldogs scored 90 seconds in on a nice shot by Dominic Pontecorvo, but 10 seconds later, the Mustangs answered on a cross by Tuipulotu and a finish by Carter Jarrett. The Mustangs netted three more goals during the next 10 minutes. Tuipulotu scored on an assist from Cruz and that was followed by a corner kick header goal by seventh-grader Jackson McCoy off the assist from Halas. Cruz provided the fourth goal from an assist by Nick Botko. The half ended 4-1 with Springfield on top.
In the second half, Springfield tacked on a goal from Cruz to Tuipulotu making the score 5-1. The top goalie in league, Gavin McCraw, moved to the field and ripped a shot into the back of the net for the Bulldogs to make the score 5-2. Springfield quickly answered on a penalty kick by Jacob Cubine to end the scoring and the game at 6-2.
Springfield’s coaches are Jon Jarrett and Pete Tuipulotu.