SEVEN SPRINGS - No thinking ahead.
Play one game at a time.
It’s sound advice that paid dividends for Spring Creek on Tuesday evening.
Oswaldo Escudero knocked in two goals for the Gators, who clinched the Neuse Six 2A boys’ soccer regular-season championship outright with a 4-0 conquest of Goldsboro at “The Swamp.”
Spring Creek secured the automatic berth for the upcoming state playoffs.
“After having the spring we had, this was the goal to be where we’re at right now,” Gators head coach Miguel Torres said. “We did a good job accomplishing that. I’m proud of the boys, especially the way they played tonight and the way we’ve been playing all season.
“But we’re definitely not done yet.”
Escudero struck quickly in the fifth minute.
One of six seniors honored at halftime, the fleet-footed striker picked up a loose ball between two Goldsboro defenders. Keeper Noah MacDonald came too far out to challenge and Escudero connected on a chip shot that rolled untouched into the net.
Ten minutes later, Adrian Tavera ripped a shot from 30 yards out that landed inside the back post.
Spring Creek led 2-0.
The two goals came out of the flow of play for the Gators, who relied on their trademark - build from the back, find some open real estate and attack. They controlled possession, switched the field to keep the Cougars moving and won first touch on the ball.
“Switch play, switch point of attack and being patient,” Torres said. “Goldsboro was crowded on one side, so we switched to the other side and try to find that opening we knew was going to be there.”
Freshman Homar Elias Lopez Castro supplied the Gators’ third goal in the 57th minute.
Escudero converted a penalty kick in the 71st minute.
The Gators took 33 shots, including 21 on frame and had three attempts bounce off either the crossbar or post. MacDonald logged 17 saves between the pipes.
Spring Creek’s defense logged its seventh clean sheet (shutout) of the season.
“We executed today,” said Torres.
The Gators claimed their ninth conference title in program history and first since 2019 when they emerged as tri-champions with James Kenan and Wallace-Rose Hill on the East Central 2A scene.