Capital City drops soccer district final to Springfield Catholic

Weston Schofield advances the ball for Capital City during Wednesday night’s Class 3 District 5 Tournament championship match against Springfield Catholic at Capital City High School. (Ken Barnes/News Tribune)
Weston Schofield advances the ball for Capital City during Wednesday night’s Class 3 District 5 Tournament championship match against Springfield Catholic at Capital City High School. (Ken Barnes/News Tribune)

It was a feeling the Capital City Cavaliers will not soon forget Wednesday night.

The fourth-seeded Cavaliers had a chance to win the program’s first district title on their home field, but they fell short in a 3-0 defeat to the No. 2 seed Springfield Catholic Irish in the Class 3 District 5 championship at Capital City High School.

Capital City plans on using it as fuel to complete the job it started next season.

“Sometimes we are in the gym in the winter and sometimes we are out here in the early spring, every time there is a scoreboard around we are putting that score with these teams on it as a reminder,” Capital City coach Travis Cairer said. “You want that taste to resonate in the mouth of the nine juniors we have coming back as seniors next year, barring any bad luck.

“I just hope they stay hungry and they know what it’s like to walk away in second place and not want to do it again.”

The Cavaliers had a golden opportunity to jump in front in the seventh minute against the Irish.

Noah Nicklas was able to retrieve a long pass beyond the Springfield Catholic backline and had a breakaway chance.

Goalie Tyler Fischer denied Nicklas’ shot at the top of the box, and after the rebound found its way to the foot of Ben Conrad, Fischer sent Conrad’s shot away while laying on the ground at the top of the box still to end the attack.

“Just a missed opportunity,” Cairer said. “Unfortunate for him, but if you’re going to hang it on somebody to finish, you definitely want one of your seniors that’s been giving you his heart all season long to be on the end of it. He just didn’t come away with that one. Unlucky.”

It was the first of a few times the Cavaliers were able to get attackers beyond the backline of the Irish’s defense.

“Every team has little bits of weaknesses, and we saw a few that we tried to exploit,” Cairer said. “We really didn’t exploit it as much as we wanted to.”

Eight minutes later, Springfield Catholic found the back of the net on its first chance.

A contested ball along the end line to the left of Capital City’s net bounced back to Erick Fuentes just inside the 18-yard box, and Fuentes was able to curve a liner with his left foot off the hands of Cole Kemna and into the right corner of the net to give the Irish an early 1-0 lead.

“They have talented players and one of their strengths is composure,” Cairer said. “They don’t panic. … They are going to stay focused, they are going to take a deep breath and they are going to strike that ball and try and put it in the back of the net every time. Typically when you’re like that, you’re a little more likely to find the back of the net.”

Springfield Catholic only had one other shot in the first half, but the Irish made it count.

With just under four minutes left before the break, a failed clearance attempt went to Christian Silva-Galicia and he was able to hit a low liner from the right side of the box into the net to extend the lead to two goals at the half.

“That was huge,” Cairer said. “If you keep it 1-0 at the half, the momentum and the mentality is completely different. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case tonight.”

The Irish were able to hold off the Cavaliers in the second half, limiting them to just five shots with three of those coming in the final eight minutes after Springfield Catholic made it 3-0 with a transition goal by Luke Butler.

“They got in behind the ball a lot,” Cairer said. “They are quick and they stay pretty composed.”

Springfield Catholic (18-8) advances into the state tournament with the victory and will face the winner of District 6, which has its championship scheduled for Monday.

Capital City ends its season with a 7-16 record.

Wednesday marked the end to the high school careers for the Cavalier’s five seniors Christian Aleman, Damian Chavez-Lopez, Brady Morgan, Nicklas and Manuel Gutierrez.

“They just have experience, that seniority they bring,” Cairer said. “The intelligent play, not panicking and just playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played. It’s going to be tough going on without them.”