For one half, it was like Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Cascade Christian and Dayton went toe-to-toe in the first half, trading jabs, but neither taking a fall. It had all the makings of a standoff for the ages.
Competing with 14 players, it has always been understood that in a battle like this, Cascade Christian would be in trouble if injuries and fatigue became factors. The 8-2 Pirates cracked the door open, and then poured through it to finish the Challengers season at 8-2.
Brandon Parker, Ryan Crowl, and Nathan Spurlock gave all that they had left to contribute. Fatigue took its toll on the fiercely competitive Nikhil Joseph, and skilleful freshman Mikey Melvin. Substitutions meant re-arranging the lineup, forcing Cascade to compete with a makeshift lineup. Forward Levi Sciapiti was placed on the back line, Parker spent time as a central midfielder, and reserves Connor Willis and Joshua Clark played with gusto wherever asked.
The stat sheet says Dylan Westlake surrendered six goals. What the score doesn’t tell you that he made more in the way of spectacular plays than a goalkeeper should ever have to. The freshman was more than equal to the task, earning the respect of teammates, coaches and even opponents.
The meeting marks the bittersweet end of the high school soccer careers of Ryan Crowl, Solomon Hewitt, Levi Marincus, Jonny McCoy, Anders Meilicke, Levi Sciapiti, Nathan Spurlock and Connor Willis. We are proud of all them. Hewitt, Meilicke and Spurlock gave the team a stingy defense and intensity. Crowl and McCoy gave the team offensive creativity and defensive support, and the Levi’s combined with McCoy to give the team their top three scorers.
The underclassmen grew by leaps and bounds. Parker, Melvin, Joseph, Westlake, Samuel Hewitt (who was injured during warmups) and Clark, all made tremendous strides, and with hopefully more help on the way, make a nucleus for a program who may have to do some rebuilding first- but then have a great future down the road.
Hats off to Coach Javier De La Mora. His instruction and spiritual impact were just as historic as the contributions of his players. Combining Season One “fall ball,” and a Season 3 spring campaign- he gave WAY more than he received, and from the AD to the parents to the players- there’s a great sense of gratitude to have this kind of leadership.