McCutcheon’s boys soccer program ended the 2012 season on a roll.
The Mavericks won six of seven games late last season, including three victories en route to their second sectional championship. The run ended with a loss to Hamilton Southeastern in the second penalty kicks session of the regional semifinals.
Despite that loss, McCutcheon’s players said their momentum carried into the offseason. Saturday’s runner-up finish in the Hagen Soccer Classic could serve as a bridge between that late surge of 2012 and the promise of 2013.
“One of the things we always joke about as a team is we won sectionals. That’s something we can hold on to for a long time,” McCutcheon goalkeeper Quentin Perez said. “We always build off that. We won sectionals, so we can win anything.”
Pike defeated McCutcheon 3-0 in a lightning-shortened championship game at Cat Park. Officials suspended play with 11 minutes remaining in the second half and soon after called the championship game.
McCutcheon had beaten Pike 1-0 in the first game of Group B pool play but struggled to create scoring chances in the championship. The Mavericks said the beginning and ending of the day showed them what they’re capable of and what still needs to be addressed.
“We learn from this,” McCutcheon senior Chase Bennett said. “We don’t get a lot of practices in before this. But learning to play with each other is a key thing we’re trying to work on. This here shows us what we need to improve on and work on in practice.”
After winning both of its Group B games, McCutcheon needed a 3-2 overtime victory over Western to reach the finals. The Panthers scored the tying goal in the final minutes of regulation, but Sean Nicol scored the eventual winner in the first overtime.
“That was awesome that he came in and did that,” Bennett said. “On the sideline, I was mad, we were mad. We were trying to get the team pumped to go out and get it back. We just came out, played hard, and we came out with the win.”
Pike defeated Group A champion Lafayette Jeff 2-0 in the other semifinal. The Bronchos shut out both Western and Griffith in Group A play.