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Boys' soccer Peak Performers: Coach of the Year Nick Odil, Palmer Ridge
There are a few truths that seem to be universal in sports.
One, if a team has a prolific offense, it probably has a few gifted players.
Two, if a team has a stout defense, it probably has a gifted coach.
Since nobody in the area does defense quite like Nick Odil’s teams at Palmer Ridge — boys and girls — well, you draw your own conclusion.
Odil’s team allowed just 10 goals over 20 games this season in regulation and overtime, and half of those came in a three-day span in mid-September as they fell 3-1 to Valor Christian and beat Cheyenne Mountain 3-2. So in more than 1,440 minutes in the season’s other 18 games, Odil’s defense was beaten just five times.
And it is Odil’s defense, make no mistake. He built the program from scratch when the school opened six years ago, implementing his own style. And it’s apparently the only brand of soccer he knows, as his girls’ program allowed just four goals in 19 games the past spring.
But it was the boys’ team this year that gave the school its first soccer breakthrough. The Bears won the loaded Pikes Peak Athletic Conference, then shut out three of their first four playoff foes in reaching the championship game. In the snow against Battle Mountain, the defense again held tight, but the Bears fell in penalty kicks after regulation and two overtimes didn’t decide the title.
That decision was a tough one. Choosing Odil as the area’s top coach in a year that also saw Widefield’s Karl Anderson and Pine Creek’s Ben Corley make strong cases — not so much.