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This week's Peak Performer: John Kochanski, Palmer Ridge boys' soccer
Aaron Wright, Mitchell
The junior ran for 404 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Marauders to a 47-40 win over rival Wasson and end Mitchell’s 3-7 season on a high note. Wright had 21 rushing touchdowns this season.
Monique Domme, Cheyenne Mountain
The senior setter had 73 assists in two regional-match wins for the Indians over Cañon City and Weld Central. Domme has 850 assists on the season for Cheyenne Mountain, which will be chasing its fifth consecutive 4A state title.
The Bears may have fallen short in a 1-0 loss to Colorado Academy in the state championship game, but they had a 15-3 record after losing 15 seniors from the 2011 squad.
Being the goalkeeper for Palmer Ridge has been a sometimes lonely and easy job for John Kochanski. The last two games, however, the senior has been a big-time player.
The No.1-seeded Bears have defeated Widefield and Cheyenne Mountain each 1-0 to advance to the 4A state semifinals, and Kochanski made 15 saves without yielding a goal.
“It’s hard to play the way you want to play when you don’t have a keeper behind you, but with John back there we know we can play freely, and if we make a mistake he will bail us out,” Palmer Ridge coach Nick Odil said. “He is respected by his teammates, and they all want to play hard in front of him.”
Kochanski, a typical goalie, gives all the credit to players in front of him.
“Our offense scores so much, and the defense is so amazing that I barely have any pressure on me most games,” said the senior, who made 10 saves against Cheyenne Mountain. “I tried not to get nervous in that last game, and I had confidence in our team that we would get it done.”
Neither the Bears nor the Indians found the net for more than 109 minutes in their quarterfinal match-up. While one Kochanski was keeping Cheyenne Mountain off of the scoreboard, another came through with the game-winner on offense.
John’s brother, sophomore Jimmy Kochanski, headed the game-winner into the net with 8.9 seconds left in the second overtime.
“It was amazing; when I saw the ball ripple the back of the net from the other side of the field, it made all of the pressure go away,” John said of his brother’s goal. “The fact that Jimmy scored it made it that much sweeter, but it’s been such a great week for Palmer Ridge soccer.”
Palmer Ridge has outscored opponents 55-10 in its 18 games and has amassed a 16-1-1 record. Odil gives his last line of defense a lot of the credit.
“John reacts really well to situations that come up during games and has a good head on his shoulders,” Odil said.
Kochanski, who hopes to attend Air Force or Navy, says that what he does with his feet is his best attribute.
“My footwork is a huge contributor to my success, because it’s so much easier to make saves when you’re in the right place at the right time,” he said.