After a hard-fought and physical game, the Summit High boys' soccer team walked off the field with its second league loss and second loss to Battle Mountain.
The momentum was strong well into the second half, when the Tigers (8-4 overall, 7-2 in 4A Western Slope) had hope of tying the game at 1-1. That is, until senior sweeper Connor Hebert was handed a yellow card and sat out on the play that allowed Roberto Diaz to step ahead of the Tiger defense and slide the ball past sophomore keeper Noah Glasco into the net.
Glasco laid flat on the ground, covering his head in disbelief as he watched the ball bounce into the lower corner of the goal.
Hebert had tears in his eyes as he left the field at the end of the game.
"It was a hard-fought game. Both sides gave it their all," said Hebert, who left the game early to be checked by the athletic trainer and returned with what coaches and trainers suspected was a rebroken wrist. Hebert also played on an injured leg.
The game started with a Tiger own-goal, where players put the ball into the box to make "good things happen," head coach Tommy Gogolen said, but instead, the worst thing happened with the help of Huskies player Alex Trujillo.
It slowly became more physical, with a yellow card dealt on both sides in the second half.
"We had opportunities tonight ... the better team won for sure," Gogolen said. Battle Mountain tallied 19 shots on goal (10 in the first half, nine in the second) while Summit put up 13 shots (three in the first half, 10 in the second).
"It wasn't completely lopsided," Gogolen said, adding that Glasco had six saves in the game.
Gogolen said he's proud his team hung with the No. 2-ranked team in the state.
The Tiger defense was a shining star even amidst a stellar offensive game that competed with the Huskies' possession game. The Tiger game plan was to shut down the Huskies' star, No. 2, Joe LyBarger - and they did. LyBarger had no goals and no assists throughout the game.
"We shut down one of the top players in the state," Hebert said with pride.
Senior defender Daniel McFadden added that he and his fellow players "eliminated a lot of possible goals. In the end, it's an unfortunate loss, but that's the way it goes."
Offensively, Summit's speed and footwork moved the ball into Huskies territory, only to be stopped repeatedly by Huskies pushing the ball to the outside or shots being deflected by the Battle Mountain keeper. Midfielders Cesar Serrano, a senior, and Max Ortiz, a junior, maneuvered the field on injured ankles while the forwards like Alan Roque attempted to maintain control and put the ball into the back of the net.