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Sand Creek’s Zoey Shank passes the ball while being chased by a Canon City defender during a Class 4A first-round game against Canon City on Wednesday, May8, 2019 at Sand Creek. (Lindsey Smith, The Gazette)

A year ago Sand Creek girls’ soccer coach Jeremy Tafoya told his team to remember how they felt after they were eliminated from the 4A state playoffs in the first round.

“It sucks,” Tafoya said. “They remember what it was like to go up into the mountains and get knocked out in the first round, so that’s been one of our goals from the start — to win as many games as possible and host as many playoff games as possible.”

This year the No. 7 Scorpions, with eight seniors, made certain they would not feel that again, taking down No. 26 Cañon City 10-0 in the 2019 4A playoff opener.

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The win marked the sixth game that Sand Creek ended early due to the 10-goal mercy rule as the highest-scoring 4A team in the state.

Tafoya credits his team’s scoring power to what he calls the fastest forward line in Colorado.

“If we could put (Sydney Lasater, Zoey Shank and Jadyn Ledoux) on a track and field relay team, I wouldn’t be surprised if they could challenge anybody in the state,” Tafoya said. “We’re fast, but now it’s about winning balls and playing with heart. I know it’s a cliche but it’s not about speed now.”

The Sand Creek midfield is a big help to the track-like forward line led by senior captains Jaden Davis and Amanda Garrett who have been playing together since they were 11 years old. Tafoya said their chemistry is a big factor in the team’s high-powered offense.

Lasater netted five goals in Wednesday's win over Cañon City, including a first-half hat trick, a penalty shot and the game-ending goal with just over two minutes to play in the second half.

Shank and senior Miranda Schwartz scored twice. Davis also had a goal for the host Scorpions, while Ledoux, a sophomore, racked up five assists.

Although the Scorpions pride themselves on being a powerhouse offensively, they learned some perspective in the second half of the season thanks to two losses and a few one-goal games — a vast difference from the first half of the year when Sand Creek won by an average of six goals.

“Those games humbled us. All of us,” Tafoya said. “We know now we can’t take anything for granted, we can’t just show up and win games; we still have to play hard.”

Sand Creek will host Glenwood Springs on Saturday at noon in the second round as the Scorpions take one step closer to their ultimate goal.

“From the beginning my goal is a state title,” Tafoya said. “And a lot of the girls will say the same thing. I have set lofty goals for them and talked enough that they believe it too.”

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