Gabe Calhoun has served as St. Mary’s goalkeeper, the final line of defense, his entire career.
On Monday, Calhoun spoke to his Pirate teammates. His message was simple. The senior was weary of losing to Colorado Springs Christian School.
“I’m out for vengeance,” Calhoun told the Pirates. “We need to win this game.”
St. Mary’s did just that, outlasting CSCS in a lively, physical, emotional and dramatic 3-2 home victory.
“In my years here, freshman, sophomore and junior year, they just absolutely killed us every time,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun isn’t exaggerating. Near the end of the 2017 season, CSCS annihilated the Pirates, 8-2.
St. Mary’s coach Gregg Braha smiled as he thought back to that extremely painful soccer night. He knows the humiliating defeat helped his Pirates on Tuesday night.
“I think it niggled at them quite a bit,” Braha said. “It was kind of like we got hit by a freight train.”
CSCS played without Kinsley Smith, one of the state’s top 3A sophomores. He’s out with an injured wrist.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead with 11:18 left in the first half when Dom Hartman connected with a head shot after a superb corner kick by Sam Wahl.
CSCS answered with a point-blank goal by Sean Capps after a cross by Silas Norwood. St. Mary’s bolted to a 3-1 lead with consecutive goals by freshman Andon Mindrup, the second with 29 minutes left.
The Pirates, beaten up a year ago, looked on their way to a breezy win.
It was anything but.
With 12:12 left, CSCS cut the lead to 3-2 with a screaming shot by Luke Brossard.
A minute later, the Lions put another scare into Calhoun and the Pirates. Norwood broke loose for CSCS and found himself alone against Calhoun. Norwood tried to dribble around Calhoun and almost succeeded.
But only almost.
“I saw his head was down,” Calhoun said. “I saw the time to close down on the angle and get the ball.”
CSCS made its final serious threat with eight minutes left. Lookens Smith took a pass from Ethan Campagna and for an instant had a strong angle on goal.
“I thought I was going to score,” Smith said. “I always think I’m going to score.”
Calhoun lunged, got a hand on the shot and rescued the game.
CSCS is 6-4. St. Mary’s is 5-4-1.
Note: After the game, Lookens Smith said he has committed to play next season at Grand Canyon in Phoenix.